rose q&a with neil miller
Question 1: “This may sound like an obvious question but how do you care for the roses to keep them in bloom and looking so lovely all together? Do they have plant food for roses?”
Answer: “If you’re new to roses the most important thing you need to know is that roses are very, very hungry. Obviously during the summer months we get blooms, but those blooms don’t come from anything. You have to give them some extra feed. At the beginning of the year they love well rotted manure or compost in a hole or put a mulch around it, but make sure that the compost doesn’t touch the stem because it can actually burn or scorch it. You can get from most garden centres a granular feed for roses that you sprinkle round the shrub at the beginning of the year. You may notice that most roses flower all year round, but they go to sleep for a little bit after their first flush around August. Then is the best time to give them another feed. If you can’t get the granular feed and you’ve only got one or two in a few pots, an all round tomato feed which is high in potassium will promote more blooms.”
Question 2: “I bought an Anne Boleyn Rose but I don’t really know what I am doing. Will they flower this year?”
Answer: “Most roses flower on the current year’s growth. So don’t worry if you’ve bought a rose from a garden centre, shop or a nursery, they will guarantee a flower the first year. The first year if they’ve been kept in a pot they may not be prolific, but guaranteed the second year if you give them a bit of TLC, some feed, some liquid feed that you can get from garden centres, they will flourish.”
Question 3: “Do you have any tips on keeping my Anne Boleyn rose upright please? Or should they be allowed to droop for a while as they grow?”
Answer: “The weight of it pulls down the rose and especially in damp conditions gravity takes hold. If you don’t want a droopy rose go for the hybrid tea roses and the floribunda roses. The hybrid tea roses have much stronger stems and the flower will be on top of it. Here, they are clusters and they weigh themselves down. To me a droopy rose looks great in your borders amongst your herbaceous plants.”
Question 4: “I think my rose has black spot? What’s the best way of treating it?”
Answer: “Black spot can be a big problem with roses, especially at this time of year. There’s a couple of things you can do. In your garden centre there’s various products under the rose clear brand or multi rose. You can get a spray and that will cure the black spot, the mildew and the rust. At Hever Castle we try to be as organic as we can but black spot is still a problem. Here’s two other ways to help:
1) As it’s a fungal disease the leaves need to be disposed of by burning or incinerated. They can’t be put in your compost as the spores can actually multiple and spread.
2) Black spot doesn’t like still air. So ideally you should plant your roses in a space where there’s plenty of air circulation around there. So any spores that start to attack the rose are blown away.”
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