Newsletters: talking roses in August ’14 – tips on corrective rose pruning

‘Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace’

May Sarton

Having written and talked about ‘Rose Pruning is Easy’ for well over 40 years it is amazing that the supposed rules on pruning are so ingrained in gardeners that at every one of the 10 pruning demos I gave this past month the question ‘Do you just cut and not look for the position of an eye?‘ came up. I am usually well prepared for this question with sample stems and branches, which show that the rose actually does not oblige the rules. It sprouts off new shoots wherever it wants; or rather where the upward sap flow is the strongest. Actually this is a good time to closely observe how many eyes are sprouting and which would be the strongest. Corrective pruning may be carried out this month – see below for the HOW.

The stub on the main stem dried back, and then the 3rd eye from the top created the best stem

Corrective pruning – cut above an eye on the main stem

The other frequent question is ‘Need the recently planted roses be pruned?‘ Yes of course!

Newly planted roses must also be pruned – see the before 7 after

The Western Cape received more than their fair share of rain and cold weather when I was there on 20 July. Most roses were completely defoliated due to Black Spot infection. When the normal leaf activity stops due to the weather and soaked soil, it seems that the best of spraying does not control the fungus. I was very pleased to notice that our ‘Ayoba’ range of varieties were still in leaf and flowering, but not yet re-sprouting compared to un-pruned, denuded bushes that were in a hurry to produce new leaves and sprouted.  Pruning down to dormant eyes normalises the situation. Images: Iceberg in water, Sunny and Pink Ayoba, iceberg with new leaves on tips.

‘Iceberg’ in front is denuded whilst ‘Pink Ayoba’ is fully foliaged

‘Iceberg’ dropped its leaves due to cold and the soaked soil

I observed an interesting aspect when photographing ‘Perfume Passion’ planted into a large black plant bag, which is sunken in next to a huge Eucalyptus tree. It had grown and flowered well. By cleaning and freeing the edge of the plastic bag I noticed that soil had pressed it down and covered some of the plastic and amazingly the roots of the Eucalyptus tree had already found this easy entry into the roses’ source of food and water. The roots were still small and thin but within a few months they would have slurped up all the water before getting to the roses’ roots.   Although I always recommend that the rim or edge of the container should stick out above the soil surface, I have never really put much emphasis on this aspect. Now on I will!

Tree roots grow over plastic bag rim and into the roses’ source of food

Another image shows how the roots from a Tipuana tree grew almost on the surface over compressed clay soil to get to the rose bed. That trench will remain unfilled.

Shallow roots of the Tipuana tree making their way into the rose bedding

We pruned in a location where we dug up the remnants of 20 year old roses in 2 built up beds. Again it was clear that the bottom roots that were settled in a type of clay soil had died and new roots started growing higher up above the bud union. We dug the soil over, mixing the deep clay layer with the nice composted top soil and fumigated it. Peanut shells and more compost will be added and new roses planted soon. 

Re-preparing the soil of 20 year old rose bedding

In the meantime we had pre-pruned / cut down all the roses on our farm with a motorised Stihl hedge shear which makes the actual hand pruning so much easier.

Roses ‘pre-pruned’ mechanically for faster & easier access and then pruned neatly by hand

Now that they are pruned I cannot wait for the roses to come into flower again.

Not even I have had the heart to prune this ‘Sunny Ayoba’ planted at my home against a north facing wall

As stated – pruning is easy, you cannot prune a rose incorrectly! The performance of the rose depends on the after care in August or early September.

For further details on pruning, especially on climbing roses and standards please click on Pruning or Pruning After Care

Sunny Ayoba  KORlaroch(P)

This rose has stood out all around the country this month! Expect superior performance!

This rose dispels  the myth that yellow roses are delicate.

It has vigour, is free flowering and the near rounded shrub-like bush

is dressed with truly disease resistant, deep green leaves.

A rose that will perform in any climate and in any garden,in mixed beds as hedges and in planters.


· Less 5% on rose plants, cut roses & Thorns ‘n Things products

· Free, specialised & personalised rose advise & Free rose talk for groups of 8+

· Enjoy a free cappuccino, coffee or tea at Spiced Coffee Restaurant with your meal or cake – only at Ludwig’s Rose Farm

PASSIONATE ROSE TALKS ON WOMAN’S DAY – Sat 9 Aug: Anja Taschner talks passionately on roses: landscaping ideas, novelties and climbers.10h30 | free but bookings essential | free tea or coffee at Spiced Coffee before the talk. Contact: 012 5440144 |

RIDE OF THE ROSES – Sun 10 Aug Ride your mountain bike btw the roses. 6, 18 & 30km. Kids laps too! Medals to all! Entries start at 6:30 and race at 8:00 Contact: Anna-Marie 0829549628 | | |

Azalea AZALEA FESTIVAL – Sat 23 & 24 Aug Explore a myriad of different azaleas in full flower, for sale at R60/plant Contact: 0125440144 |



Contact us to apply for the position:012 5440144 |

The primulas are ablaze – see the wonder of annuals in a pruned rose bedding whilst planning your summer rose garden. Fully stocked on peanuts & compost & plants.

We have plenty cut roses available.


SPRING ROSE CARE & FINGER PRUNING DEMO  Sun 31 Aug & Sat 6 Sept, 10h30


We are eager to greet & serve you at our new Star Roses.

We are moving to 6 Fraser rd, Assagay

From Kassier Rd turn into Alverstone Rd (opposite Hillcrest Hospital), left into Fraser. We are on the right sharing premises with Natal Saddlery. 031 768 1037

Tuscany’s most beautiful autumn rose gardens

Dates: 30 August – 8 September 2014

Invigorating your taste fantasies & visiting historical rose gardens. Marco Guisti & Claudio Bernadoni will teach you true Italian cooking whilst enjoying the serenity of a true Tuscan villa lifestyle.

See here for full itinerary

New Years in Italy

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 |

Anticipating the burst of growth,

Ludwig Taschner