Rosa – Popular Shrubs for the Garden
Roses, in all their varied forms and colours, are among the aristocrats of flowering shrubs. Few shrubs come into flower in June and continue flowering until October or later, as the modern hybrid tea and floribundado.
There are roses for practically all purposes and no other shrub is so diverse in its flower colour. In the hybrid teas and floribundas, pinks, reds and yellows predominate, with a few good white varieties and, in recent years, a good many on the orange or vermilion side of red have been introduced, with a few others verging on lilac. In the older roses it is possible to find purples, maroons, magentas, and mauves as well as the deepest crimsons and delicate pinks.
There are the striped roses such as ‘Rosa Mundi’ and partly-coloured varieties such as ‘York’ and ‘Lancaster’, grown for over four centuries, with its petals sometimes pink and sometimes almost white, usually both kinds on the same flower. Among these ‘old’ roses, are the most heavily fragrant kinds, their scent quite unlike the light fragrance of most of the modern roses. Many have a short flowering period, around midsummer, but others have recurrent or ‘perpetual’ . In contrast Rosa rubrifolia is grown for its purple leaves.
In this short space it is impossible to mention further. names, particularly as new varieties of hybrid teas, floribundas and even, appear annually. There are many suppliers of fine hybrid teas and floribundas in the country and it would be invidious to recommend particular nurseries. There are, however, few nurseries that have a really wide range of ‘old’ roses, Bourbons, hybrid musks, hybrid perpetuals, China roses, and species roses.
Roses will do well on clay soils provided they are properly cultivated, just as they will flourish on most soils except the very thin ones overlying chalk, which provide the most difficult conditions for most shrubs. Mulching in spring is necessary to keep them growing vigorously.
Hybrid teas and floribundas are usually pruned in late March. For ordinary garden display hardis not necessary and reducing stems by about a third or a half their length, cutting back to above an outward-pointing bud, is usually sufficient, cutting out thin growths at the same time and endeavouring to keep the centre of the bush open.
Rambler roses are pruned immediately after they have flowered, cutting away the old flowered shoots. Climbing hybrid teas are pruned by thinning out some of the old flowered shoots once the blooms are over; the plants are gone over again in April to cut off dead growth and thin, weakly shoots and tipping back the ends of unripened shoots.
Little pruning is required for the ‘old’ roses. Some of the oldest stems can be cut away each year after flowering and the longest growths are shortened by one third in February or March.
The species roses also need little pruning, though when bushes become overgrown it is necessary to cut out the oldest shoots and thin growth, to encourage the production of new, strong shoots on which the best flowers are produced.
Associated reading: Successful rose growing and faults to avoid
See: more varieties of popular shrubs