talking roses in January ’18

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  • In the rose garden with Ludwig
  • Rose Care for January
  • Happenings
  • Rose of the Month
  • News from our Rose centres

‘Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realised.’

Allan Armitage

In the Rose Garden with Ludwig

Firstly, we would like to wish you a Happy New Year! May the roses bring colour to your every day!

Secondly, thank you for reading our newsletter and for enjoying gardening and specially roses.

The new ROSE year actually starts after pruning in July already. Followed by the expectation of a super show and immaculate blooms to admire and even pick for the home from October.

The new calendar year we have just entered is just as full of expectation. We look forward to dam filling rains country wide and of course bigger, more beautiful and more intense blooms in autumn.

Not to forget good, new governance! Did you notice the colourful garden rose arrangement next to the new ANC President when he gave his Christmas message on television?

We were blessed with nice rains during December, but never more than a good irrigation cycle – between10 to 15mm. The roses really love the alternating hot and overcast days.

The Dahlias certainly are showing off this summer.

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Dahlia ‘Helene’

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Dahlia ‘Metamorphosis’

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Dahlias in full bloom.

It was wonderful to welcome the many visitors to our nurseries these holidays.

The stalwart performers showed off with their sheer flower power.

Even though Colourscape and Floribunda roses often flower in greater abundance, the individual blooms of the Hybrid Tea’s remain the favourites that always draw the eyes and interest.

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‘Garden Princess’ exuding sweet fragrance.

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‘Granny Dearest’ in full swing.

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‘Magaliesburg Rose’ full of large, prefect blooms!

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‘Myra Stegman’ simply performing!

I thought it was interesting that the “Marsala” colour that was to be the hip colour in 2015 seemed to be the hit this season.

Plants of ‘Black Tea’, ‘Mama Africa’ and ‘Marsala Panarosa’ landed in the shopping trollies.

I must add that at this time of year a visit to a rose farm is a family affair and often it is the children who pick out the plants with blooms that interest them the most. I noticed one trolley full of ‘Christo Lindeque’, ‘Vuvuzela’ and ‘Durban July’.


‘Christo Lindeque’ bright and beautiful!

‘Ultraviolet’ is the Pantone colour of 2018. ‘Zulu Royal’, ‘Madiba’, ‘Vodacom’, ‘Ellerine’s’,  and ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ are varieties that fall into the shade category.

This exciting newcomer that we will be releasing in March, we find matches the colour best. Keep a look out!

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An unreleased “ultraviolet” variety!

For a rose nursery, propagating new plants of course is an ongoing process.

Just before most of our staff members left for their well-deserved Christmas holidays in mid-December a batch of 30 000 young plants, that had been budded in small pots were planted into 5 litre plant bags to be looked after by me and the skeleton staff.

To keep all our roses happy (watered) about 45 valves had to be opened and closed daily and for such young plants it meant watering maybe three times a day.

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A newly planted block of young rose plants.

Last week, 4 year-old little Ludwig, on holiday with his parents and grandparents in Hermanus, already told his dad that it is now time to go back to the farm.

I heard the same sentiment from our staff members who are with family in the Limpopo and Marble Hall regions.

Happenings: Summer Rose Pruning Demonstrations

One can coax a whole lot of performance and quality stems out of your roses by applying various tips and tricks now in Summer. Attend one of our demos and let us show you how… 

  • Saturday January 13 at 10.30 am at Ludwig’s Roses Egoli, Glenferness.
  • Sunday January 14 at 10.30 am at Ludwig’s Rose Farm.
  • Sunday January 14 at 2 pm at Ludwig’s Roses Pretoria East.
  • Saturday January 20 at 10 am at Ludwig’s Roses Winelands, and Sunday January 21 at 10.30 am.
  • Saturday January 20 at 2 pm at Ludwig’s Roses Cape Town.
  • Saturday January 27 at 10 am at Big Red Barn, Irene/Olifantsfontein.
  • Saturday February 17 at 10.30 am at Ludwig’s Star Roses, Hillcrest

Attendance is free and booking is not necessary.

Step by Step Rose Care for January

Although there are regions that received good rains, providing sufficient water for the roses is still the most important maintenance aspect in summer.

I too discovered that I must practice what I preach.

I noticed that ‘Ashley Callie’, one of the many roses in pots that stand around the office and retail area, looked terrible.

A close inspection showed that the edge of the pot was cracked, and the water ran out before it could go down to the roots and out at the base.

Fixing it was easy: I got a new pot, cracked the old one with the spade and settled the totally dried up root ball with a little extra potting soil into the new pot.

I must have stood there with a hose for 5 minutes. It took 25 litres of water to force all the air bubbles out of the dried up soil, before it reached the drain holes. Four days later I notice sprouting.

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The cracked edge of this old pot caused the drying out of the soil.

The roses in the bricked-up bed at our main entrance wall and business sign were just not flourishing. Even though they were watered daily.

We had previously dug a deep trench behind the wall to cut the roots of the Australian Pine Tree.

Ha! The roots still very cleverly found their way around the trench to the well-watered rose bed.

The water was slurped up before it could get to them.

Now we have deep trenched a U around the tree and pulled up a dense network of roots above the roots of the roses. We planted new roses.

All this to show that one should not always take it for granted that the water is reaching the rose roots. If they are not doing well, investigate!

It takes some effort, but getting it right will result in a big water saving.

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A Casuarina tree’s roots found its way to the rose bed – AGAIN!

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Trenching a U around the tree will keep out the water thief!

January is the right time to carry out summer pruning. It is very different from winter pruning. The most important thing to remember is never to cut down to a stem that has no leaves on and not to cut too many leaves off.

The principle is really about neatening up the bush, shortening it and promoting quality new stems that will produce quality blooms.

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This is a Hybrid Tea rose bush before it is summer pruned.

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The same bush after it has been summer pruned.


To watch a quick and easy video on how to summer prune, click here…

The availability of water determines the extent of summer grooming.

If only limited water is available, do not cut back or clean out the inside of the bush.

Any stem that is cut back or even just dead headed is stimulated to re-sprout.

This requires extra water and if the extra water is not available it causes stress.

The result is miniaturised new growth as well as spider mite and possible woolly aphid infestation.

For those who are lucky to have good water resources, rose growing in summer is fun.

The leaves and blooms in periods of heat become smaller but the flowering ability is not reduced it actually increases.

With enough water, the roses would have put on a lot of growth since winter pruning and since there are still a few months of growth ahead, it is good practice to carry out some shaping and grooming.

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An example of light grooming. It will promote continuous flowering.

Long stemmed Hybrid Teas that have grown too tall may be cut back by a metre, or rather by undercutting, which means cutting half way down the stem underneath the current flowering stem.

Smaller side stems may be removed as well as stems inside the bush which are not receiving sun light anymore.

Bushy floribunda varieties such as ‘Iceberg’ and ‘Simplicity’ may simply be trimmed all around.

But only cut back into leafy stems; NEVER down to denuded parts of the bush.

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Note that the bushes in the centre are obviously lacking nutrition/nitrogen.

They are substantial and it is best to fertilise these with two of the 30g VIGOROSA measures per bush.

One measure will suffice for those with the nice deep green leaves. Water well and carry out summer pruning a week later. The hungry leaves will have pulled the fertiliser up into their system.

From our own trials, I am pleased to have it confirmed that our cocktail spray is the most effective in controlling the most common problems of fungi infection and pest infestations.

Controlling a bad infestation of Red spider or the two-spotted mite is difficult.

I sprayed heavily infected buds in our greenhouse (where we normally do not spray) with a double dose (80ml in 5 l water) of our premixed cocktail making sure to get it on the underside of the leaves.

The next day it was as if a miracle had happened. The webs were gone, and the leaves looked healthy again.

It had to be repeated a week later since the sticky oil did not control the eggs that had been laid and from which the next generation had hatched.

Aphids were not killed right away, but they were sort of anesthetised and were gone a week later. The Ludwig’s Insect Spray is organically certified and is freely used by farmers of organic products such as tomatoes.


To have nice long stemmed red roses to pick for St Valentine’s Day, the cutting back should have been carried out on old year’s eve. We did 🙂


Rose of the Month: ’Turning Point’ LUDfairuktik (P)

This rose has stamina! Just look at how it is fully leaved from top to bottom and how it produces huge, quarterred, deep cup blooms on every stem.

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Just look at the stamina!

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…and the beauty.

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The blooms are huge!

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The colour is intense!

News from our Rose Centres: 


As mentioned above we are hosting hands-on summer pruning demos on various weekends this month. We look forward to welcoming you to a branch closest to you.





Ludwig’s Roses EGOLI


Our new area for demos amongst the roses!


Ludwig’s Roses Big Red Barn

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The roses at The Big Red Barn looking splendid!

Ludwig’s Star Roses

The show garden is in full flower.

Rose greetings and the very best wishes for the New Year!