Growing Roses Successfully
How to Grow Roses with Fabulous Results
When discovering everything there is to know about growing, you will soon learn that roses, ideally, prefer a deep good quality loam, not or sour, but well supplied with plant foods and stiff enough to allow the roots to find a congenial cool run.
Yet many successful rose growers I know, have to produce their plants and rose blooms under quite contrary conditions to these. They have had to make the most of what they possessed and their success should be an encouragement for anyone who feels he has little chance of doing well, because his garden doesn’t have the sort ofwhich he believed was essential.
From the results I have seen all over the country, I believe that, with good cultivation and the proper use of manure, almost any garden may be made to produce quite satisfactory roses.
Roses do not like to be dried out, yet they appreciate enough sun to ensure thorough ripening of the wood. The more open the beds are to light and air, the better.
If the soil is naturally light and quick draining it must have sufficient organic matter added to ensure that during dry spells it will not become parched.
Organic matter is equally useful on clay soils to improve their texture and prevent them cracking in hot weather. While of course, partly rotted organic materials provide the basis of nearly all natural plant food taken up by the roots, they also act as a sponge, holding on to soil moisture which would otherwise be lost.
At the same time soil texture is improved enormously by the air spaces left as the material breaks down further into humus and it is from this, that clay soils particularly benefit.
Humus for Roses
This term, in my opinion, is used far too loosely. Humus itself is the end product of the complex breaking-down of organic materials added to the soil. It takes some time to reach this state and, because of this, I try to give my roses regular dressings of organic matter each year, knowing that this breaking-down process is going on all the time.
Humus can be provided in a variety of ways, the best being as well—rotted farmyard or stable manure. Unfortunately, this is not often readily obtained if you live in or close to a town, and haulage over long distances may make the price too expensive. Any decayed vegetable matter may be used with advantage if well worked in.
There must be tons of kitchen vegetable trimmings put into dustbins each year which should be added to theheap. Lawn cuttings and other garden refuse, stacked for a few months and turned occasionally, will rot down into good manure.
Spent hops offer another excellent means of supplying humus. Surplus turf should be secured and stacked whenever possible for there is no better foundation for the rose beds than good top-spit soil full of the fibrous roots of grasses and other plants.
Peat and leaf mould are other very useful humus-forming materials.
Cultivation of Roses
Roses, like other shrubs, are usually a permanent feature once planted and I always feel that thorough groundwork before planting is well worth while.
Double digging is the most satisfactory preparation. This means thoroughly breaking up the soil to a depth of about 2′ The work can start by marking out a 2′ or 70cm wide trench across the plot to a depth of 1 foot or 35cm. and wheeling the soil removed from this to the other end of the patch. Then you can get into the trench and, with a strong digging fork, break up the bottom soil as deeply as possible.
Then open an adjacent trench 2′ or 70cm wide and turn the soil on to the broken soil lying in the previous trench. Now the bottom of this new trench needs to be forked.
So the work goes on, 2′ strip by 2′ strip, until the far end of the bed is reached, when the heap of soil removed from the first trench will be used to fill up the last trench.
As you progress with your double digging, well rotted manure or any of the other humus forming substances I mentioned above, should be incorporated with the soil which is dug over at the bottom of each trench.
Manure is not used at first in the top soil because it may check early root development in newly planted roses, but there is no reason why peat or rotted turf should not be used to improve the texture of the top soil.
When preparing the ground for growing roses, try to prepare the site as long as possible before the roses will be planted, so that the ground may have a chance of settling and being broken up by the weather.
Leave the surface rough until a few days before planting commences and then go over the plot with a fork and break the surface soil down to as fine and crumbly a condition as possible, choosing good weather for the work.
To complete the pre-planting preparations, it is a good plan to dress the soil with bonemeal applied at the rate of about 4oz per square metre. This is lightly forked into the surface of the soil and will benefit the roses over an extended period.