Rosy ways to beat the lockdown blues

This couldn’t be a better time to spend with your roses and any attention lavished on them will be rewarded by beautiful blooms right through to winter. What better way to spend the lockdown? 

Start each day with a walk around the garden and greet each of your roses. You will begin to see how different each rose is and how they are growing. Do they need fertiliser (yellowish leaves or chlorotic leaves), feel the soil (is it moist), are bugs eating the leaves or spoiling the blooms?

What is so satisfying about roses is that they respond within a week to any improvement, whether it is fertilising, extra mulch, more water, or loosening of compact soil.

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Rosy ways to beat the lockdown blues 2
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3 ways to get more from your roses

  • Fertilise each rose bush with Vigorosa or any other rose or flower fertiliser. The extra food, along with the rain showers and cooler temperatures will result in a growth spurt, with new shoots and buds developing. Water well after fertilising and make sure the fertiliser is sprinkled evenly around the bush. 
  • Water deeply twice a week. Now that you are at home you can monitor the watering more closely. Here’s what to look for: Sprinklers not reaching plants, especially on the edges of beds; water running off the soil instead of being absorbed by it, roses on slopes not getting enough water or blocked spray nozzles.
  • Often the problem is hard, compact soil. Push a fork into the soil and if it doesn’t go in easily, the soil is too compact. Although this is not the time to dig over the soil, you can spike it, as is done for lawns.

Spread a layer of compost over the soil, then push in the fork and wiggle it to make holes. The compost will fall into the holes. Do this repeatedly around the rose, pushing the tines of the fork into the soil as deeply as possible. Water well after doing this and watch the water seep easily into the soil, carrying oxygen to the roots.

Break the rules 

Normally, we only advise gardeners to replant or move their roses in June when the roses are dormant. If the roses are not doing well, with very little new growth and flowers break the rules and do so now. Being at home you have the time to pamper them. 

Prepare the new position first and if possible, make a raised bed, filled with organics (peanut shells, compost, shredded bark), that offers good drainage and nutrition. The roses easily send new roots into the spongy, soft soil.

The day before transplanting, water the roses very well. Trim the rose, making sure you leave enough leaves to shade the stems. 

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Dig around the rose in such a way that you are able to remove the rose with most of its root ball intact and covered with soil (like planting a rose from a black plastic container).

Gently put the rose and its root ball into the hole prepared for it. Fill in with fresh soil and firm down. Water well.

 If the days are hot screen the roses with 30% shade cloth, especially during the hottest time of the day. Water the roses every day and hose down their leaves at midday. It will take about three weeks before you see new flower-bearing shoots appearing. 

Have fun with roses

Pick a perfect rose and put it on your desk to marvel at while you work. Take a picture and share it with working friends to inspire them too. 

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Gloria Mthunzi
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Mara Louw

Easter is around the corner and we will still be in lockdown. Set up your own Easter egg hunt among the roses on Sunday 12 April

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Start your own rose gallery by taking pictures of your own roses and it will be at your fingertips. If you are in a queue, waiting at the doctor, the vet, at the bank, or in a blue funk, just scroll through your rose gallery and enjoy! Or visit  our facebook page or Instagram account and view our many photos of beautiful roses

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Want to know what to do with all your different sized bottles, glasses and jars? Wash them until they sparkle and use them as receptacles for individual roses throughout the home.

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Rosy ways to beat the lockdown blues 14


The American philosopher and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, ’This time, like all other times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.” 


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