Head Gardener’s Tips on Caring for Roses

June 22 2018 | Garden What's on

The acclaimed walled rose garden is widely regarded as the jewel in the crown of the stunning Hever Castle gardens in summer. To achieve such beautiful blooms, the gardening team work hard throughout the year tending to the roses.

We spoke to Head Gardener, Neil Miller, for his tips on caring for roses. According to Neil, “Care for roses is quite demanding, but if carried out properly you will reap the rewards from June onwards.”

Hever Castle Rose Garden

Pruning is Crucial

An autumn prune should be undertaken in November. Simply cutting the hybrid tea and floribunda roses down by about a third will prevent damage caused by ‘wind rock’ during the winter months.

The all-important spring prune should be undertaken in March, where all hybrid tea roses are pruned hard down to 3 or 4 buds. These buds ideally should be outward facing as the idea is to have the rose bush shaped like a goblet. If you have pruned your roses correctly you should be able to sit in the middle of the bush without anything protruding into you!

When pruning also be sure to prune out the four Ds – dead, dying, damaged and diseased wood.

Caring for Roses

Just After the Prune

After pruning, the rose will be stressed so a good rose food should be applied to the base of the bush to give it an instant boost.

The Hever Castle gardeners then add a slow-release fertiliser which gradually feeds the rose bush over the next few months. Adding a good mulch of at least 3-4 inches of well-rotted manure or compost will have three benefits: it will feed the rose, keep the moisture in and keep the weeds down.

Caring for Roses

Pests and Diseases

Here at Hever Castle we only spray against blackspot, mildew and rust. We do not spray against aphids (e.g. green fly, blackfly etc.) and instead leave that to the wildlife.

After the Roses Have Bloomed

As soon as the blooms have finished, deadhead the roses. This will promote more blooms throughout the season.

Caring for Roses