‘How deeply seated in the human heart is the liking for gardens and gardening.’

Alexander Smith  


Last month I started off with “The nice rose weather is a continuation from November” and I could just about repeat this for January. The quickly changing pattern from blazing hot to overcast sky, a bit of rain and cool nights is ideal for roses. The Western Cape experienced unseasonal rain and it seems that finally the long drought is broken in the Durban region. The Summer Rose Care workshops were well attended with mostly “new faces”. In my talks I always go into detail about how plants and roses in particular function. With this understanding, carrying out the important procedures at the right times makes sense and one does not get bogged down with grandmother’s do’s and don’ts. Many attendees bring samples of troublesome leaves, stems or blooms and it gives me the opportunity to explain the cause. It is never a virus. We recently indulged in the purchase of a stereo microscope that is able to enlarge up to 400 fold. Not enough to see a virus, but certainly powerful enough to show the normally invisible eggs and larvae’s and the damage they cause by sucking and chewing. Leaf deformation caused by Thrips has become a notable problem inland and I think is due to the high humidity we experience. Read more of it further down.

My walking about or riding around in my golf cart (mostly with my grandsons as passengers) is so much more stimulating in mid summer than in October when all roses flower and look good. Every day at this time of year there are different varieties that stand out much more than others and obviously draw the eye and makes one to stop for a closer look and a photo shoot.


‘Ashley Callie’                                                          ‘Little Pink Hedge’ 


‘Kissing Ayoba’                                                       LUDlyndalsmallme


LUDcoraljosun                                             ‘Saints Jubilee’

A stunning new multi-coloured variety was named ‘Christo Lindeque’ ORA351  It forms part of our ‘White Ribbon Collection’ – part of the funds will go to his chosen organisation helping disabled people, UITKOMS.


‘Christo Lindeque’

It was sad to learn of the passing away of the French rose breeder Francois Dorieux. We have released and named several of his varieties. I remember walking with Francois on a late afternoon through his rose fields, fairly high up the mountains discussing the merits of varieties. A bottle or two of local wine helped a lot with our verbal communication, me trying to speak French and him English. Here are the most prominent of his creations. We still have a fair number of his not yet named varieties in our trials.


‘Rina Hugo’                                                             ‘Zulu Royal’


‘Beach Girl’                                                             ‘Gerd Keichel’

Of course January was not just play, play, play and looking at beautiful roses. We filled many plant bags and planted out understock cuttings that had rooted over the Xmas period.

Thousands of rose plants to be planted


It is romance with a capital R at our farm on Valentine’s Day. You can enjoy a romantic picnic among the roses, or alight on the tractor-train for a champagne-cruise among the roses with more champagne and roses on your return, or treat yourselves to sumptuous breakfast or lunch buffets as well as delicious coffee and cake at our Spiced Coffee restaurant.

Click here for our special buffet menu

Click here for our Picnic delight (Sat 14 February picnics are fully booked, but we have space on Sunday)

Booking is essential: please contact Talhat at Spiced Coffee Restaurant or spicedcoffee@ludwigsroses.co.za or 012 5440144.

Flower Arranging course on Valentine

Also on Saturday, Anja will present a Floral Arranging Workshop from 9am to 2pm at a cost of R 1 500 per person including tools, vases, flowers and refreshments. This will be no ordinary flowering arranging day; be prepared to be inspired and surprised at all the creative ways one can use roses in the home.

Bookings email emily@ludwigsroses.co.za or contact 012 5440144.


Autumn is the best time to visit these super rose gardens.

We meet at Ludwig’s Soleil; Lynnwood Road extension, at 08h00 for departure at 08h30 and expect to return at R12h30.

The cost is R250.00 Refreshments included.

Bookings: Emily 012 5440144 | emily@ludwigsroses.co.za



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 (the pageant is a casual, fun affair)

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.



Let’s start with the nasties! The CMR beetles made a sudden appearance, mostly on the fragrant roses, and when I took a closer look as to why our ever flowering hybrid Buddleias had no flowers – a swarm of the beetles took off. We sprayed them with Kemprin and had flowers opening up a few days later.

CMR beetles love the fragrant roses

When I was shown samples of these terrible looking stems and blooms I thought I was in Durban or maybe even in Florida USA. But I quickly clicked; our hot and humid December/January weather has been ideal for Thrips to go into hyper-active mode of breeding and chewing. It seems that the adult Thrips prefer to lay eggs just behind the buds in a leaf axle. The first larvae hatch at the time when the dormant bud is swelling and sprouting and within days they convert into the hungry second larvae stage just as the first leaves are forming. Under the microscope one can clearly see the route they have followed, chewing their way upwards and penetrating the thin epidermis layer on both sides of the leaves. As the leaves are still expanding this damage causes them to curl and deform. Once the flower bud starts to form the minute larvae get between the petals where they convert into adult insects with wings. They start rasping and sucking on the petals of the maturing blooms and fly away at any sign of danger to nearby grass or other flowers only to come back to lay eggs on their, it seems, favourite food source.

It could be that an August or September drench of KOINOR has begun to lose its effectiveness by January (after five months), especially if the roses have grown a lot, or that the roses were not sprayed with an insecticide during the crucial period in December January. One can either drench again with KOINOR or simply spray with it at a rate of 5ml per 5 litres water. Its systemic action is more effective than a stomach poison such as the pyrethriods (Ripcord, Kemprin and others) although immediate relief is achieved when spraying with them. Alternating with Milbeknock is an additional trump card against Thrips. Gardeners who followed this advice contacted me a week later to say that the new leaves are unblemished. Thrips has become a major problem with flower growers, not just roses, certain vegetables and very much Citrus.


Frightening thrips damage                         Thrips thrives on the young foliage


New shoot & leaves sucked dry   Brown scars from thrips chewing  Thrips chews on both sides of leaf


Thrips damage                               Thrips damage                        Note damage only on young leaves

In gardens where the roses are sprayed with our Cocktail containing Chronos and Insect Spray I have so far seen very little of black spot defoliation. The odd ones out are bushes in beds with poor drainage and standing water. With the sap flow interrupted and the leaves not being active the Chronos cannot be effective from the inside of the leaves. A recent report in Farmer’s Weekly provides a possible indication as to the efficacy of our recommended spray cocktail. Garlic juice is added to the canola oil so that the smell distracts insects from finding the roses. Now Research at Stellenbosch University indicates that crude garlic extract can be used for keeping disease-causing fungi on post-harvest apples at bay. Could that be the reason of the extraordinary efficacy in the control of fungus diseases with our recommended COCKTAIL?

If you never got around to doing a summer pruning last month there is still time to do so now, if you want nice and big blooms in March / April. For details click HERE. Ideally there were still nice young shoots left after the grooming early January which would now be over their best. A follow up ensures continuous flowering.


The results of Summer Pruning: left pruned – right in bloom again

‘Giver of Hope’ in bloom after being dead headed

As we get into autumn the monthly fertilising is especially important to entice the roses to keep on growing despite their genetic urge to prepare for the winter dormancy as the days start to shorten.

Although wide regions had good rains, one should not take it for granted that every shower may be sufficient to get the water down to the roots of the roses and irrigation must not be neglected. That is especially so with other plants, be it trees or annuals, competing for the same water.

After receiving water, the wilted leaves recovered, some of them singed on the ends.

This plant is dying due to a lack of water – one needs to dig around it to find out why.


and ‘Relais & Chateaux’LUDclocjoe

In 2003 a rose was named in appreciation of Liz McGrath, well known for being one of very few women in the world to own three hotels, all of which are members of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux group.


Liz McGrath with Ludwig selecting ‘Relais & Chateaux’  & ‘Liz McGrath’ rose

It is a rose unique in many aspects.  The colour of the tight urn shaped buds displays a touch of green over the bronzy golden base indicating firmness of petals and longevity. Once the petals start unfolding from the pointed bud the clear bronze on the petal reverse is enhanced by a contrasting light gold on the inside of the petals. It takes days before row after row of petals unfolds until finally displaying a full bodied bloom reminiscent of historic roses. The bronze colour of these extremely long lasting blooms takes on a hue of apricot adding liveliness to a bush in full bloom. The sturdy medium length stems carry the flowers upright and they are ideal for home decoration, especially as they exude a distinct spicy fragrance.

The bush goes to chest height and with its dense, green leaves and performs equally well amongst hybrid teas, Antico Moderno™ and Fairy Tale™ roses, as well as in tubs and large pots.

Our long and happy relationship with Liz McGrath produced a second rose last year; named for Liz McGrath’s chosen group of exclusive hotels ‘Relais and Chateaux’ (LUDclocjoe). This shoulder high rose flowers profusely, with blooms in shades of cream and a delicate tinge of pink flowing into a soft peach. The earthy fragrance has notes of freshly cut grass, rose and a whiff of fruit. The slightly frilly but firm petals form the classically shaped bloom that, when open, offers its yellow stamens to the bees. The plant can be grown as a feature in a large container, in mass or mixed beddings and will provide many flowers for the vase. It is also very disease tolerant.

We would like to extend our deep condolences to Liz McGrath’s family. She passed away peacefully last week Saturday. We will remember her for her passion and commitment in both her roses.

‘Relais & Chateaux’


Do you still have unanswered questions? Book for a ‘One on One General Maintenance Session’ where one of our rose experts will show you anything you would like to know, from how to plant a rose, calibrating spray to tying climbers.

Sessions are R100 and take as long as you need.

See every branch below for details


north of Pretoria on the N1 | 012 5440144

One on One General Maintenance Session

Dates: Mon 9 – Fri 13 Feb  Bookings: Emily emily@ludwigsroses.co.za

See details above for Valentine’s Day & Bus Tour & Princess Rosebud


Lynnwood Rd, PTA on the N1 | 012 817 2099

One on One General Maintenance Session

Dates: Mon 9 – Fri 13 Feb  Bookings: Tumelo tumelo@soleil.ludwigsroses.co.za


97 Lachlan Rd, Glenferness, JHB | 011 458 60451

One on One General Maintenance Session

Dates: Mon 9 – Fri 13 Feb  Bookings: Yvette yvette@ludwigsroses.co.za

The Gold Reef Rose Society invites:

Hear Ludwig talk on ‘The PASSION of Cultivating Roses’ and a cuppa with your GRRS team.

Date: 7 March, 10.00 at Ludwig’s Roses Egoli

R20 for members and non members

RSVP  woodb@iafrica.com or 083 985 8632


6 Fraser Rd, Assagay, KZN | 081 380 8496

One on One General Maintenance Session

Dates: Mon 9 – Fri 13 Feb  Bookings: Madga magda@ludwigsroses.co.za

I will be giving Summer Rose Care workshops on Saturday 28 February and Sunday 1st March at 10h30. It is free and no booking required.  Do not hesitate to bring samples of troublesome leaves, blooms branches for identification purpose.

Or join the Midland’s Rose Society for a ‘Rose Talk’ by me. 28th February, 2h30 at the home of Dawn Pellew at 18 Clifton Road, Athlone. Pietermaritzburg. R20 for non members. Pls RSVP contact Margie at 0824 281 305 or email midlandsrose@gmail.com. Please bring a chair


R304, near Stellenbosch, WC | 021 884 4552

One on One General Maintenance Session

Dates: Mon 9 – Fri 13 Feb  Bookings: Marie marie@ludwigsroses.co.za


Chart Farm, Klaassens Rd, Wynberg | 071 640 9565

Our rose plants and Chart’s picking roses are looking great.


– join us on one last tour

Visit Italy’s most beautiful rose gardens.

Accommodation in a luxurious villa.

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

Read the full itinerary here

Wishing you a happy Valentine with a garden full of fragrant red roses!

Ludwig Taschner