- In the rose garden with Ludwig
- Rose Care for November
- Rose of the Month
Gertrude Jekyll – gardener
In the Rose Garden with Ludwig
Despite the gloom around drought and water restrictions, and the actual theatrics of the weather, October was as reliable as always and turned out to be as superb a rose month as ever.
As expected, the early flowering varieties got the season off to a good start and they are now already busy producing the next flush.
On the 24th of October ‘Just Joey’ is bursting with her second flush
A week later around the 7th of October the main flush came through.
‘Afrikaans’ the front bush unpruned in winter and the back one pruned.
‘South Africa’ in full bloom and ‘Iceberg’ in the back almost over
‘Dazzling Beauties’ a miniature rose with gusto
The late flowering varieties are looking fresh right now and are benefitting from the odd rain showers we have had so far.
‘Flower Power’ puts on a late but magnificent show
A single plant of ‘Albertine’ – flowers profusely in spring only
‘Deloitte & Touche’ on October 24th
‘Eden Rose’ which was not winter pruned
‘Red Ayoba’ on October 24th
Irrigating the roses effectively is probably the most crucial part of our business. Our observation is that there is a fine line between optimal watering and maintaining good growth and good leaf and flower size. Daily short spurts of irrigation encourage upward root growth and hair roots closer to the soil surface. If watering is suddenly changed to deep drenching irrigation once a week, the surface hair roots dry up and it takes a while for lots of hair roots to form at a lower level. Likewise, if one changes from deep watering to more superficial watering the rose will also take time to adapt. This is easily observable when growing roses in containers. What this means is that changes to the watering regime should be gradual, and not drastic. More on water saving aspects further down.
The roses in the gardens we visited on our traditional bus tour in Johannesburg all looked good – obviously. What was notable was the amount of shade in these gardens. The roses benefit from a good balance of direct sun light to filtered light from shrubs and trees as well as from correct watering.
notice how the dappled shade benfits the roses
The delegates to the National Rose Convention had a glorious time amongst roses and rose people. A bloom of ‘Colorama’ was judged best rose on show with blooms of ‘Andrea Stelzer’ in second and third place. During their visit to Ludwig’s they had the onerous task of evaluating the best out of about 3000 different yet unnamed varieties in our trial grounds.
convention delegates evaluating the best roses in our trial grounds
Happenings: Fun Run of the Roses – Saturday 26 November
On Saturday the 26th of November we host yet another popular Run of the Roses in conjunction with Franco Sport. We look forward to seeing you there!
Step by Step Rose Care for November
The weather is likely to dictate which rose tasks are given priority. In gardens with sufficient water (blessed with a borehole) and in regions where water restrictions are not in force, the main tasks will be grooming, disbudding, topping water shoots, fertilising (where Vigolonger was not worked into the soil earlier) and spraying.
Twice weekly dead heading will keep bushes in a continuous flowering mode. Here again it does vary and one needs to look and talk to each variety.
For instance, if the rose ‘Monica’ is not dead headed it will sprout higher up and produce flowers with short stems almost like a floribunda.
‘Monica’ not dead headed – note all the many short, thins stems with smallish buds that have formed.
‘Monica’ after grooming – now one can expect larger, quality blooms with longer stems
By cutting out the centre the quality of the forthcoming blooms will increase within a week.
‘Mister Lincoln’ and ‘Andrea Stelzer’ produce long stems and if not dead headed, they are slow to re-sprout. By cutting the long stems back by about half, with sufficient leaves remaining, the next flowers will be of good quality with stems that have not grown so high that one can’t admire and smell them.
long stemmed ‘Mister Lincoln’ requires frequent deadheading to re-sprout quickly
‘Andrea Stelzer’ before dead heading.
‘Andrea Stelzer’ after dead heading
Now that rain has fallen in Gauteng and other regions one can expect the onset of fungus diseases, mostly black spot and it is advisable to spray fortnightly with Ludwig’s Cocktail or Rose Protector or to alternate between the two (the best option).
This will also take care of insect problems such as aphids and thrips and to a degree, even beetles. Should there be an invasion of beetles spraying with Kemprin, Garden Ripcord, Cyper or Plant Care will evacuate them from your garden – for a while at least.
Very recently hail storms damaged roses in Bloemfontein and Pietermaritzburg. The advice is to only cut away very badly damaged broken twigs and branches. The bark starts bursting a week after the hail and to avoid fungus diseases breeding in these wounds it is then best to spray with the Cocktail or Rose Protector or the well-known Dithane or Coppercount, if they are still on the shelf. Only once the rose bushes are sprouting well, should they be fertilised. Further grooming or cutting away of damaged stems is done only once good new stems have sprouted at the lower section of the bush. Otherwise wait for winter pruning.
In last month’s Talking Roses, we recommended the use of grey water to irrigate your roses. If you are facing the challenge of needing to water your garden more efficiently, if you would simply like to join the movement of environmentally conscious gardeners or if you would like to save on your water bill whilst enjoying an immaculate garden, watch the videos we have shot on grey water and rain water harvesting!
As a good measure to counter the drought, coco peat is an excellent natural substance that has very useful water retaining properties. It is hydrophilic and quickly reabsorbs water even when completely dry. We sell compressed 5kg brick blocks that will expand to 75 liters of moist coco peat. The blocks cost R 75.00 each.
It is best to submerge the blocks in water so that they completely absorb enough water to become a soft, fibrous, water dripping material. This is either spread around the roses and dug in, mixing it with the soil to a depth of about 20cm or you can make a narrow trench and place the wet material at the bottom. Alternatively, spike compact soil with a digging fork and fill the holes with the coco peat. The same applies to roses growing in pots. Make sure to mix it with the soil for new plantings. It is of course just as excellent for any other plants.
Mulching, which covers the root zone with heat insulating material, is essential, not only for saving water but to allow the roots to absorb cool water. Herewith samples of material that can to be used. The rule of thumb is that you can use anything that keeps the sun rays from reaching the soil.
pine needle mulch is tops
‘Planten en Blomen’ mulched with dried reeds
Living mulch requires water itself and it takes applying more water so that enough finds its way through the leaves and roots before reaching the roots of the roses. It is excellent when sufficient water is available.
wild strawberry works very well
Australian Violet’s as living mulch under ‘Winchester Cathedral’
Polygonum capitatum or Knotweed is also ideal
mulching with Echiverias and similar low growing plants is also a good idea
Roses of the Month: ‘Lisa’
We look forward to welcoming you at any one of our rose centres in November!
Thank you for reading our newsletter and for planting roses.