Newsletters: stuning rose gardens = talking roses in November ’14

‘Gardening is how I relax. It’s another form of creating and playing with colours.’ Oscar de la Renta


October has been a long, glorious rose month and it is continuing into November.

The “Peter Rabbit amongst the Roses” show over the first two weekends in our Rose Barn was a great success judging by the obvious enjoyment exhibited by both young and elderly visitors strolling amongst the roses, vegetables, rabbits and ducks.

Our roses retained that fresh look for the whole month. No doubt due to the rose friendly weather pattern of cool nights, the odd overcast days and a good rain shower on the 26th October.

Our annual bus tour to private gardens in Johannesburg was once again an inspirational event, seeing magnificent roses in different settings. Our sincere thanks to the gardeners who happily welcomed such a large crowd into their gardens to smell their roses.

Dens & Margo’s rose garden

Dens & Margo’s rose garden

The ladies are chatting away in Judy Eckersley’s rose garden

‘Driveway’ to Vivienne Black’s ‘The Rose House’

The planned bus tour in the Cape had to be cancelled on short notice. The roses were flowering two weeks earlier than is normal for the region.  It was evident when I did the Finger Pruning demonstration in September. However, gardeners are still hesitant to carry out this valuable exercise. I drove around the region and saw some breathtaking roses. They are just so different from Gauteng at this time of year.

‘Sally Holmes’ near Franschoek

Mrs Shuttleworth’s rose garden

‘Blossom Magic’ arched in Mrs Shuttleworth’s garden

‘Garden Queen’, ‘Andrea Stelzer’ & ‘Blue Moon’ in the Mrs Shuttleworth’s garden

‘Heidi Barkhuisen’s Garden

‘Eden Rose’ in Franschoek

‘Deloitte & Touche’ provides colour infront of the Heritage roses at the Durbanville Rose Garden

‘Chart Farm’

The talk I gave at “La Motte” on the theme “Heritage Roses versus Modern hybrids” was well received. Read the shortened version here.

We also participated in the National Rose Convention with our rose truck shop at the Piggly Wiggly centre in the Midlands and saw some stunning rose gardens.

Just as the early flowering varieties usher in the rose season so it is refreshing to see the late flowering varieties extending the season with their enormous performance. When planning a rose garden one should be aware of this and make sure both types are strategically placed.

‘Flower Power’ is late to start but flowers profusely into wonter

‘Planted & Blomen’

‘Kissing Ayoba’ in the Cape

I made use of the fading light to photograph some of the test roses on the 3rd November. The full moon was already high up on the East with a cloud formation being brightened by the sunset at the West.

Rose evaluations with the sunset behind me and the full moon above


Rose care this month is very much a continuation of what was carried out in September and October.

Old, dead flowers, especially on the Hybrid Teas and Antico Moderno roses are best cut off. The more regularly this is done the better – if you want to encourage nonstop flowering and have nicely groomed beds.

By not carrying out any dead heading, as it is known, the roses will still sprout and even flower prolifically, however the quality of stems and blooms is not comparable to the new shoots from stems that have been cut back, even as much as half way. Naturally, if you are a keen picker of blooms for the home such cutting encourages new sprouting. One just needs to be aware that a good balance of leaves must be retained on the remaining stem.

Full soft petalled blooms just do not open in the rain. Left are bullhead blooms

‘Greensleeves’ blooms improve with age, blooms are over a month old

The left side was dead head – the right side was left untouched.

‘Rose hips’ delay reflowering – these should be cut off 


Before & after dead heading


Left row was sheared 4 weeks ago, right row now needs shearing. 2nd image is the opposite. 

The centre row of ‘Sympa de Bellevue’ had been sheared – see the new growth


‘Garden Pavillion’ ready for 2nd flush.                  ‘Mister Lincoln’ is much slower


Removing the centre bloom from candelabra


Thinning out candelabra


If left ungroomed, they will still sprout & reflower.  Groomed roses channel strong new growth better & look better

Some roses age well: ‘Ivory Beauty’, ‘African Earth’, ‘Bienkie’

White roses are more sensitive to blemish by weather. Look at the stages of these blooms of ‘Giver of Hope’ from bud to full aged bloom in 4 weeks. Regular dead heading is required

The latest fashion is to call these deformed blooms ‘grassheart’ roses

‘Madiba’ also profited from been pinched & cut

‘Irish Luck’ in its second flush

The sprouting of basal stems or water shoots is encouraged and should appear with the onset of rains in the inland region, not forgetting KZN, where gardeners have had a hard time of very little rain for a very lengthy period. The topping or pinching out the tip from basals is important! The maturing process starts immediately with the stems becoming woodier and the sprouting out of the upper three to five leaf axles produces the best blooms to the end of the growing season.


Basal development after pinching a month ago

And back to the watering. I cannot stress enough the importance of getting water to the roots of the roses. Even more so if the roses face possible root competition from trees. In previous Talking Roses I showed how we had dug deep trenches to keep the roots from a Tipuana tree out of the rose bed. A section of the newly planted roses that had grown well before winter battled in spring. I found the tree roots on the surface under the mulch. Within an hour I had the Tipuana sawn off. Within two weeks these roses are sprouting well.

Tipunana tree cut down in favour of the roses

Roses make a fast come-back since there is no more root competition

Fertilizing! I was delighted to come across an article in the American Rose July/August 2014 issue “Summer Fertilizing is a Must”. The authors are experienced rose gardeners and live in Tucson/Arizona with a climate close to ours. For years they adhered to the long standing belief that it is dangerous to fertilize on a regular basis during summer because plants would be pushed to their limit. If it is too hot, plants stop growing and if pushed by fertilising are likely to suffer and even die. Eventually, they experimented by liquid fertilising some of the roses on a fortnightly basis and they found that these roses indeed grew well, made lots of leaves and most importantly when September came (our March) they could be groomed and provided the best autumn flush imaginable. This compared to the other bushes which had become undernourished in summer with the available fertiliser washed out. They had lost all the lower leaves on the bushes and when it came to grooming in autumn it took too long for such semi dormant roses to regenerate and often ended in the demise of the bush.

This was of course my finding so many years ago. Not only do we practice monthly fertilizing, but also advocate this in our rose care columns and the many talks and lectures. In other words make sure to give each rose bush its dose of Vigorosa once a month.  Sprinkled over or around the bush, on top of the mulch and then watered in well is the best and easiest way of application.

The regimen of spraying depends to a degree on the weather. Without drizzle or rainy days and nights the pressure on black spot disease is low, but will change with the change of weather. The flower bud eating beetles have arrived and it is a case of picking them by hand, dropping them in a small bucket half filled with water and a little oil. Otherwise, spray with Kemprin when the beetles are most active at double the recommended dose.


Beetles prefer sweet, fragrant varieties.           Thrips causes drying out of the petal edges

Bollworm damage – note the bollworm on the bottom left

I noticed a lot of deformed blooms early in October and received images from gardeners all over the country wondering about the cause. Such deformations, known as bull heads, are due to low temperatures at the early stages of bud development. It meant that the roses sprouted pretty quick after pruning in July and as the first new leaves developed, night temperatures dropped and stayed low for the month of August. During this slower growth period a lot more petals were developed and the actual reproduction centre of stamens became deformed into funny green “balls”. It is known as a Phyllody and it is not a disease. Once cut off the new stems develop and carry normal shaped blooms. This does happen much more to varieties with large, fully petalled blooms. With more petals tightly packed the petals never unfold, known as balling, and they rot from within.

I have never seen bull heads or balling on varieties with fewer stiff petals such as on ‘Monica’, ‘Johannesburg Sun’, ‘Esther Geldenhuys’, ‘Summer Lady’, or ‘Boksburg Fantasia’.

The Rosa moschata that was hacked down in end August has recovered amazingly well.


‘Rosa Moschata’ before and after.


1 year old plant of ‘Born-2-Care’ photographed in Shirley McKenzie’s garden.

This rose has simply stood out all around the country.

A modern antique rose producing long stems with mostly three medium sized, firm petalled blooms incurved in the centre displaying the nostalgic shape of the olden days. The colouring is a blend of silver and pink. They make superb cut flowers. The bush grows rigidly upright and mixes well in beds of hybrid tea roses.


See our new range of fuchsias in full bloom. Beautiful established hanging basket varieties available.

We have added to our selection of dahlias. Come and enjoy plate sized blooms created by Delbard in France.

Available only at the main farm.


LUDWIG’S ROSE FARMnorth of Pretoria on the N1 | 012 5440144

Visitors to our farm will notice that we mostly do not carry out dead heading on our mature rose plants on our rose mile. These are our mother plants and we only cut stems when we need them for propagating, to make new plants.

29 – 30 November – Dahlia & Fuchsia Festival

Plants are in full bloom, see wonderful new varieties. Plants are for sale.

29 November – Run of the Roses

The Roses trail will take you through the fields (some gravel, some grass, some concrete) experiencing a myriad of roses in bloom and exuding their fragrance whilst your heart is pumping and your feet are running.

You can choose the easy trail of 4km or a bit harder 8km. Children are welcome.

The restaurant will be open. For special bookings contact: 012 544 0144 |

COST: 4Km R50 | 8Km R70 TIME: 8h00 | Registration from 6h00

CONTACT:  Anna-Marie 082 954 9628 | Andrè 082 490 5061 | |

LUDWIG’S SOLEIL CUT ROSESLynnwood Rd, PTA on the N1 | 012 817 2099

The retail roses & cut roses are looking good. We are fully stocked on all other rose accessories.

LUDWIG’S ROSES EGOLI 97 Lachlan Rd, Glenferness, JHB | 011 458 60451

We are fully stocked and waiting to serve you. Bring your garden plans and let us help you fid the right rose for the right spot.

LUDWIG’S STAR ROSES 6 Fraser Rd, Assagay, KZN | 081 380 8496

The shop is fully stocked – great for early Christmas shopping.

LUDWIG’S ROSES WINELANDSR304, near Stellenbosch, WC | 021 884 4552

Our rose plants are looking great.

LUDWIG’S ROSES CAPE TOWNChart Farm, Klaassens Rd, Wynberg, WC | 071 640 9565

In the Western Cape the weather pattern was the opposite much warmer than normal. The blooms I saw only last week were huge and perfect at Chart Farm.


Dates: 28 December 2014 – 5 January 2015

Visit the gardens of Villa Medicea di Castello, the Florence Botanical gardens, food markets and more – whilst living in a villa learning the secrets of basic Italian cooking.

See full itinerary here

Info & bookings: Pamela 0825537555 |

Yours in roses,

Ludwig Taschner