Newsletters: talking roses in Dec ’18

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In the rose garden with Ludwig
Rose Care for December
Walk & talk
Rose of the Month
News from our Rose centres

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas” – Calvin Coolidge
In the Rose Garden with Ludwig

We were just discussing the fact that we have been sending out talking roses for 20 years now. How the world of communication has changed since then! Thank you for reading our monthly newsletter and thank you for enjoying the beauty of the Rose with us.

Our roses have certainly kept us busy this season. They came into bloom very early, from the end of September and carried on flowering non-stop. The cool, even cold nights, at the beginning of the season, and some very hot days suited the roses especially well. A few days of rain in-between increased the soil moisture nicely, although it has not been enough to completely fill our storage dams yet.
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The container roses in our fields are flowering well!

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The rose fields on the farm in Pretoria.

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‘Shocking Blue’ looking good in December.

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The miniature ‘String of Pearls’ flowering so impressively.

Our recently planted mother plants were stressed by the extremely hot days. They had not yet developed enough of a leafy framework to shade the soil around them.

So, we collected pine needles and mulched the beds. Within days the roses looked fresh and sprouted again.

It takes a long time for pine needles to de-compose and by that time there is no chance of an acid build up. Besides, roses like acidic soil so it really is an ideal mulch.

Any other heat insulating, porous material that allows air and water to penetrate will do just as well – straw, peanut shells, thatch grass, or even leaves mixed with lawn clippings.


Pine needles make for an outstanding mulch!


The pine needle mulch insulates the soil and keeps the roots cool.


The mulch locks in the moisture and reduces weed growth.

We renewed many of our mother stock varieties over the past months. All were planted in well-prepared new soil mixed with peanut shells and manure. It has become very clear that our Eco-chic varieties have an edge over many of the older favourites.

Walking through our trials of yet unnamed varieties, it is gratifying to note that there are many more with such good qualities in the pipeline.

In the USA they now use the term XDR which stands for extra disease resistance. For instance, to indicate that a new variety of impatiens is resistant to downy mildew.

In our catalogue, the red ladybug symbol of course clearly distinguishes our eco-chic varieties from the rest.   

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An unnamed variety on the left compared to ‘Bloemfontein’ released in 1988.

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The loosely branched ‘Charles Mallerin’ cannot quite compete with
the densely leaved  novel vatieties next door.

We are receiving many pics of leaves that are half dried up from the edges by e-mail and whatsapp. Always with the addition that they are being watered well and sprayed regularly with Rose Care or Rose Protector.

Water is life! In these cases, what happens is that not enough water gets up into the leaves. That is when the detective work starts. WHY are the roots unable to do what they are meant to do?

It is usually a case that the water is not seeping down because of a slight slant at ground level. Or the actual state of the soil makes it difficult for the water to travel to where it is intended. Compaction over time can cause this. If there is no drainage and the water stagnates around the root area, it would also cause similar problems. Roses in pots that show these signs are not getting water frequently enough.

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At some stage the plant lacked water.
As soon as it received enough again,
it stopped and the plant re-sprouted.

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Without enough water, the leaves of this plant
have taken on a bronze colouring
to protect itslef from the sun.

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As soon as it receives proper rain
and with it an increase of the moisture in the soil,
it will “explode” with new growth and buds.   

Whenever I look at our avenue of GrandiRosa’s and PanaRosa’s, I wonder why they have not yet become much more popular.

They are such easy, almost maintenance free roses and so versatile! They can be planted for the purpose of screening or creating a colourful border or as specimen features on their own. 

The old-fashioned climbing roses that need to be espaliered and trained and will not flower as continuously, just can’t compare to these freestanding, free flowering, modern roses.

Of course, climbers still have their value for growing on a very high wall or arch or dome.

The images of the GrandiRosa’s and PanaRosa’s planted here on the farm, speak for themselves.

They were all taken yesterday. With their natural vigour and large leaf canopy they anchor their roots deeply and can withstand periods of drought much better. There is hardly any need to spray, but they obviously respond to deep watering and the monthly fertilising.

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An avenue of GrandiRosa’s and PanaRosa’s. They are planted 1.2m apart in the row.

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‘Marsala GrandiRosa’

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‘Limelight GrandiRosa’


A yet to be named candidate bred by Colin Dickson.

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The cream coloured GrandiRosa still to be named, next to ‘Red GrandiRosa’.

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‘Carmine GrandiRosa’


The strongly scented ‘Arctic Ice’


Even planted on the edge of an embankment, they round off the landscape so wonderfully!

The GrandiRosa’s have a more formal, stiffly upright growth habit. It produces clusters of full-petalled blooms of a classical Hybrid Tea or Antico shape. Picking just one of such a cluster will fill a vase.

The PanaRosa’s have a much more spreading growth habit with the flowering stems arching gracefully. The blooms of most varieties are also large and may be picked for the home.


If you are still in town, join me on Sunday, the 16th of December for a Walk and Talkthrough the roses at the Farm. We start at 9.30 am. Make sure to wear a hat and good walking shoes. There is no charge and booking is not necessary.

Save the date notice of our Summer Rose care demonstrations:

EGOLI | Sat 12 Jan 10h30

FARM | Sun 13 Jan 10h30

PRETORIA EAST |Sun 13 Jan 14h00

WINELANDS | Sat 19 10h00 & Sun 20 Jan 10h30

CAPE TOWN | Sat 19 Jan 14h00

BIG RED BARN | Sat 19 Jan 10h00

STAR | Sat 16 Feb 14h00

Step by Step Rose Care for December – January

How to take care of your roses at this time of year depends on your answer to this question: Will you be away for a period or are you staying home? 

Staying home means one would like the roses to look good over the festive days, if not all the time. It means grooming; cutting off dead or faded blooms with two or three leaves, making sure to retain enough leaves, thereby encouraging new sprouting stems further down on the stem.

Such grooming allows more light to fall onto the remaining leaves and this stimulates photosynthesis and promotes new sprouting. Varieties differ, and one needs to assess each as to the degree of grooming and cleaning of side stems.

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‘Monring Star’ before being dead headed.

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‘Monring Star’ after dead heading.

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Before dead heading and removal of hips (fruit).

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After the dead heading.

If fertilising was not done earlier in the month it should be done now. It takes a week after an application of VIGOROSA to see its effect, the invigoration of the bush with sprouting stems. Fertilising is always coupled with watering. It takes a few applications of water for the fertiliser to be dissolved and carried to the roots.
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If fertiliser was applied at the beginning of the month,
your plants should have sprouted like this,
without any grooming.

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If you plant has sprouted so nicely,
grooming isn’t really necessary.

The rain seems to be unpredictable this year wherever you are. There are cold, rainy days in KZN, abnormally in the Western Cape and off and on Inland. Such weather induces fungus diseases and fortnightly spraying with our COCKTAIL is recommended to prevent them.

So far, we have not experienced the normal invasion of the CMR and Fruit beetles. There are some, mostly on specific fragrant varieties and this can then easily be stopped by spot spraying with a Ready-to-Use Rose Protector.

The normal spraying should also keep the night-active brown Christmas beetle from lacing the leaves. If this damage is noticeable, just dust the leaves with Karbadust or Blue Death as well as on the ground around the roses.

Boll worm is an ongoing nuisance, as it punctures the rose petals. We hoped it would be over after October, but the moths continue to lay eggs onto the green sepals. How do they find rose buds at night? By day they are gone and spraying the buds is not easy. Within a few days the caterpillars hatch and eat through the sepal into the petals of the closed bud. It is virtually impossible to stop this by spraying. The needle thin caterpillar keeps on eating becoming a fat worm and destroys the rose bloom from the inside. If you want super blooms it helps to check the green buds and wipe any salt-like white eggs off them.

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Boll worm eggs can be removed by hand, when you spot them.

If you are away from home for a while with no one caring for the garden, it is best not to carry out any grooming, cutting or fertilising.

Soak the soil and mulch. Give the roses a good spray with the cocktail just before leaving and hope for some good rain showers.

To survive, roses in pots need to be watered at least twice a week.

On your return you can then groom, fertilise and spray.

For nice blooms on Valentine’s Day the grooming should be done in the first few days of the year.

To learn a little more about grooming and summer rose care make sure to attend one of our Summer Rose Care workshops.

You can also watch this short video that details the tips and tricks in under 3 minutes.


A short video on summer pruning and grooming.
Roses of the Month: ‘Crimson Velvet Dress’ LUDgeruk(N)
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Standing in front of this superb rose, one cannot help but to imagine looking at a beautiful lady, wearing a flowing, long, crimson velvet dress, dancing at a ballroom dance. That is what separates this variety from other Floribundas, the ability to produce perfect, Hybrid Tea shaped blooms from the base, reaching all around the tall bush. A performer!
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This Floribunda truly stands out wherever it grows. It is especially striking planted in a row. The blooms have a slight fragrance. Their shape is perfect. 
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Festive Season shopping at our Rose Centres

We look forward to welcoming you at any one of our branches over December. Plants of course make for wonderful gifts, specially for oneself, however our shops stock many other special rose goodies.

The only day the farm will be closed is on the 25th of December. The other branches are open most public holidays.


We have just received a range of rose scented candles and of course we stock incense galore.

Our white ribbon collection of roses have raised R 20635 this year and we are happy to report that we have donated the proceeds to the relevant NGO’s now in December when it is most needed.

It remains for us to sincerely thank you for your support during 2018!

Please be safe during your travels and enjoy your well deserved break.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and rosy New Year!

Rose greetings,

Ludwig & Halmar