Caption: Maid of Kent - David Austin. A delicate climber.
Caption: Too blousy?
Caption: Rosy Cushion - David Austin. A beautiful shrub rose.
Whilst visiting a local nursery this week (Larch Cottage, Penrith) I saw a little girl, accompanied by her mother, enthusiastically smelling the roses before pronouncing on her favourite. I don’t know which rose came out on top, but I do remember her delight in smelling each one and her exclamations that they were all different. Roses do this to us, there’s something about being drawn into their world and carried off in the perfume. As a little girl, I can remember a similar experience and knew there was something special about roses even then.
Our home in the Lake District is at a height of 700ft and our roses consequently flower later than in gardens at lower altitudes. Being behind in the season can sometimes have its compensations though, as while other gardens can have a colour burn out in August, our roses are still going strong. If you get that sad feeling when your roses go over, worry not, a second flush is achievable with a good feed.
The important thing to do first is to deadhead them, otherwise the plant will just set hips and feeding will have limited results. Monty Don talked through how to deadhead roses on Gardeners' World a few weeks ago but if you missed him, there are instructions on the RHS website.
Having done the deadheading, the next most important thing is to give them a good feed and that’s where Dalefoot Compost can help. Our Lakeland Gold is rich in potash (the nutrient for fruiting and flowering), which comes from the bracken we harvest from the Lakeland Fells. The potash gets released as the bracken breaks down and this in turn feeds the roses. A few generous handfuls placed around the base of each plant is all that’s needed and in a few weeks (with a little bit of rain and a little bit of sunshine) you’ll have buds forming that will produce that second flush of colour and scent.