‘The lesson I have thoroughly learnt and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.’ Gertrude Jekyll 


The nice ‘rose weather’ continued into December for many regions and that meant we could enjoy beautiful roses. Indeed many beds and groups look more stunning now than they did in October. The blooms are large and display a far more intense colour. This is due to 15 occasions of rain with a total of 158 mm rain and partially overcast sky.


‘Anne Lorentz’ & ‘Heart Throb’

Left rose is Black Spot susceptible – the one on the right is resistant


‘Archbishop Tutu’                                                   ‘Sue Gush’ making its typical candelabra 

The one nuisance with rain is that it spoils the blooms. Not all of them, but mostly the soft petalled varieties, that become susceptible to Botrytis fungus, commonly known as grey mould. Soft petals of Hybrid Tea blooms easily stick together and rot from the inside with grey mould spreading on the outside. The pinkish spots one notices on light coloured varieties are also caused by Botrytis. No use spraying for it. Simply cut the infected blooms off. With normalised weather it disappears on its own. We are aware of this problem and try to avoid selecting novel varieties that are susceptible to Botrytis. Often it is a difficult decision since it is the very fragrant varieties that are subjected to this nuisance. Read more on Botrytis


Rot caused by Botrytis

Spotting caused by Botrytis

Some roses love the rain – others just get Botrytis 


Tough petals of Wendy Ackerman impervious to the rain. This no named variety laughs at the rain!

During the December holiday season we welcomed keen rose gardeners from all over the country, usually more senior family members travelling from the coast and other areas to meet up with their family in busy Gauteng. It is always nice to exchange views and gardening experiences or simply chat about old times. Our children’s play ground and the tractor train rides through the rose farm are well patronised.

Our tractor train rides are well loved 

Planting certain annuals in rose beds in spring is not always advisable. The annuals benefit from the generous fertilising and watering in the rose bed and grow too lush and don’t flower as expected.

Cosmos taking over and not offering the expected show

We also had to learn to allow lots of space for the Dahlias to spread out, as they are not replanted every year. However, ‘Fishpond Pebbles’ that stays well above the Gaura keeps on performing and so does ‘Waterwise Blush’ which simply grows sideways into the sun and is not bothered by the dense planting of the Day Lilies on either side.


Dahlias spread tremendously by the second year


‘Allysum’ poses no threat & the ‘Chloemes’ were planted in a bare spot

‘Fishpond Pebbles’  grows above the Gauras and thus has no problem


‘Waterwise Blush’ simply grows side ways to overcome the space issue created by the day lilies

Having given a rose bed a second chance by cutting down a Tipuana tree, I realised that there was yet another culprit, in the form of an Australian pine tree at our entrance. Certain roses planted next to the security building did not perform even though they were watered daily by hand. Within two weeks after digging a trench with a TLB, the roses started sprouting very nicely.


‘Jan Cilliers’ rose recovers after digging a trench to protect them from the Australian pine tree’s roots


If you want a good start to your new year in the rose garden consider attending one of our free Summer grooming and rose care demonstrations this month.

Farm: Sun 11 January, 10h30

Soleil: Sun 11 January, 14h00

Egoli: Sat 10 January, 10h30

Winelands: Sat 17 & Sun 18 January, 10h30

Cape Town: Sat 17 January, 14h00

Star: Sat 28 February & Sun 1 March, 10h30


It is midsummer and the hottest month of the year in all parts of the country. However, the weather always manages to surprise us. I have known it to be cool with lots of rain so that all our red roses so carefully trimmed back at the “right” date for flowering on St Valentine’s Day, were at their best after the event!

Therefore, we have two scenarios to consider when coaxing a superb performance out of our roses:


This year this scenario is most likely to be experienced in Durban and the Cape Province, including the Winelands, the Karoo and the Northern Cape. Lots of leaves on the rose bushes are essential for them to survive. With no danger of defoliation by Black Spot in such weather, it is best to delay any severe summer pruning to early February to ensure good autumn blooms. Leaves provide shade for the stems and the soil. They are also the ultimate moisture regulators. With not enough water, they become tough and look wilted, having almost closed the stomata to carry out the minimum of photosynthesis. Any cutting, grooming, or pruning at this stage is an artificial command to reverse this stage of semi-dormancy. It could lead to sun burn on the main stems and eventually stem kanker. It would, however not be a problem if a lot more water became available at root level. The then newly sprouted leaves will likely be smallish, due to the intense high light of long summer days and no clouds. The blooms, too, will be small, but still beautiful.


With this pattern over the past weeks, and having sprayed preventatively with our COCKTAIL or even CHRONOS on its own, the growth would have become quite dense with a lot of smallish leaves. By cleaning / cutting out any superfluous growth that is obviously not able to produce good new stems and blooms, direction is given to the bush to channel its strength to a reduced number of stems, known as cutting points by commercial cut rose producers. Since each variety has it very own growth pattern, one needs to check this out and proceed accordingly. In other words, to follow how the best growth is channelled. I did summer pruning on several diverse bushes. The before-and-after images should give a fair indication on how to go about it. You can’t go wrong as long as there are leaves on the upper parts of any stem that is being cut back.

Images below depict before & after summer pruning






Before & after – now expecting great basals to grow 


Growth after pinching basals      


Die back always travels up. Make a clean cut to remove it. Basal stems can now be expected

Any roses that are planted for mass flowering rather than individual quality, i.e. ‘Iceberg’, most of the floribundas and miniatures, ‘My Granny’, ‘Deloitte & Touche’ do not require any summer pruning. However, if they have grown out of proportion, trimming with a hedge clipper is the easiest way to keep them to size or shape.


‘Rosafrica’ is a variety that would benefit from a hedge clipper trim


Colourscape, Fairytale & Floribunda roses can easily be hedge cut to trim them back into a nice shape

With so much rain the fertiliser in the ground should have dissolved or been used up by the plants or washed out well below the root levels. Light green leaves are an indication of “hunger”. It would result in limited new growth and eventually black spot infection despite spraying. Such under-nourished bushes would benefit from a double dose (2 x 30g measures) of VIGOROSA. A change in the colour of the leaves and new sprouting should be evident within a week after application. It is still important to follow up with the normal monthly fertilising.


Nitrogen deficiency

With the frequent rain showers presently experienced, one must not make the assumption that any spray will be washed off and would be of no use. The modern fungicides i.e. CHRONOS, ROSE PROTECTOR, FUNGI FREE and ROSE CARE3 will be absorbed into the leaves within minutes, ensuring their protective action from within. However, any new leaves formed after the last spraying would not be protected and with fast new growth being evident, a fortnightly spraying is advisable. In regions without much rain that can be stretched to once a month.

Another aspect of frequent rain and overcast skies is that the newly formed leaves are softer and larger and have become used to constantly having water pushed into them. As we know, the moment the hot sun comes out, evaporation in the leaves is doubled if not trippled and temporary wilting may occur. A quick shower by overhead irrigation will alleviate any wilting.

Already we are being shown sample leaves and stems that are chlorotic. The reason for this is mostly poor drainage with little microbe activity at the lower root level, preventing a normalised uptake of Iron and other micro elements. Short of digging drain trenches (a major job) there is not much one can do about this right now. Rather wait until winter and re-plant the roses into raised beds.


This plant was dying due to standing water at root level.

ROSE OF THE MONTH ‘Lago Maggiore’ KORonajab

Egg shaped buds develop into large globular blooms; outer petals reflex to sharp point; incurved inner petals remain loosely folded over – unusual; intense silver-lilac blooms are produced individually or in clusters of 3. Excellent vase life. Fresh green leaves are carried on stems that have no prickles & sprout untiringly during whole season.


We will soon be rolling out our online rose sales – but before we do this – we would like to give away a ‘couriered plant’ to the first 10 lucky readers  to test the waters.

Send an email with your name and contact address to chairty@ludwigsroses.co.za

Our secatuers, pesticides, books and other rose goodies are already available online: click here

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

Princess Rosebud & Thorn Prince SAT 14 March

Let your child’s sparkling eyes & bright smiles become an ambassador for the queen of flowers.

Enter him or her by sending us an image of your child, possibly with a rose and a short description why he or she loves the rose.

Ages 5 – 11.

Cost: R150.00

Email: emily@ludwigsroses.co.za

Pageant will be on the day – SAT 14 March 2015.

We have teamed up with The Gardener Magazine & Miss Earth to make this day extra special.

We will be having fun with flowers, decorating the thorn castle & potting your own pixie roses.

Diarise our Summer Rose Care demonstrations on January Sun11 at 10h30.

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

I will be giving the Summer Rose Care demo on Sun 11 January at 14h00.

LUDWIG’S ROSES EGOLI97 Lachlan Rd, Glenferness, JHB | 011 458 60451

I will be giving the Summer Rose care demo on January Sat10 at 10h30

LUDWIG’S STAR ROSES6 Fraser Rd, Assagay, KZN | 081 380 8496

We experienced a hefty hail storm on the 23rd. It took a lot of effort to clean up. Fortunately we sprayed the roses with Chronos to avoid infections in the split bark wounds.

The signage in rose garden has gone up:)

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

I will be giving the Summer Rose care demos on Saturday January 17 and Sunday January 18 at 10h30.

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

Visit our new rose centre at the lovely Chart Farm at Constantia where I will give a demo on Saturday January 17 at 14h00.

SPRING ROSES GARDENS of ITALY – join us on tour


Visit Italy’s most beautiful rose gardens.

Accommodation in a luxury villa.

Cook delicious Italian meals – all whilst chaperoned by Marco & Claudio.

Read the full itinerary here

We look forward to being of service with a smile to you around the country and wish you a garden filled with fragrance and happiness for 2015!

Ludwig Taschner