Winter snows: In snowy weather, the stems of shrub roses tend to splay outwards, creating a hollow centre. Hold the branches together and give the bush extra support by winding string or raffia several times around the middle of the shrub.
Frost protection In autumn: when you have finished pruning, spread a thick layer of garden compost around the base of each plant. Then bank up the earth around the base to a height of 20-30cm.It should be removed at the start of the fine weather, around April or May. This is not only a good way to protect young plants from winter frosts, it also slows down the development of dormant buds and prevents premature regrowth during early mild weather.
Good timing for treatment: If you have to treat your roses, choose a day when the weather is calm and not rainy or windy. This ensures that treatments are applied exactly where required and are not blown onto nearby plants or washed into the soil. Apply any garden treatment during the early morning or evening, out of the heat of the sun.
Power shower: Cuckoo spit, a frothy lather found nestling in leaf joints, contains the pupae of insects that are more unsightly than harmful to roses. But if you don't like the look of this spittle, remove it by spraying with a jet of water from the hose, avoiding the rose flowers themselves.
The right time to water: In the summer, water your roses early in the morning and never in the middle of the day. Do not water roses in the evening of a very hot day as this will promote diseases such as black spot, which develops in hot, wet atmospheres, and powdery mildew, which occurs when roses are grown in soil that is too dry.
- Apply water around the base of the plant. Avoid using a fine spray, as roses weighed down with water will not last long. Over wet leaves may also burn in the sun from the magnifying effect of the droplets. )'Water the soil thoroughly before spreading liquid manure around the base of the plants, or do this after it has rained.
Combating rose sickness: If a rose dies unexpectedly, pull it up with its rootball and remove the soil where it was planted to a depth of fifty centimetres. Replace with fresh compost before planting a new rose into the hole. Ideally leave the site clear for at least three years before replanting with roses. Whenever you transplant a rose, remove the old soil from around the roots and use fresh compost in the new planting hole.
Aphid decoys: Plant nasturtiums around a rose bed. They will attract colonies of aphids to their stems and leaves, which can be cut off and destroyed. The nasturtium plants will quickly recover, and your roses will have been spared.
Holes in your rosebuds: This is a sign that small caterpillars are living in your rose and that the flowers may soon be entirely eaten away. There are two natural solutions: simply remove all the affected buds, or plant shrubs and flowers that attract birds alongside your rose bushes. The birds will eat the caterpillars and keep them off your roses.
Unhealthy foliage: Chlorosis, the rapid yellowing of foliage, is usually caused by a shortage of iron, which can mean that your soil is too alkaline. without touching the roots, dig a trench all the way round the rose at a distance of about forty centimetres from the base, and fill with ericaceous compost. Feed annually with this compost and plenty of organic matter.
Prevent powdery mildew: Whitish, floury marks on leaves and buds are the symptoms of this disease, which often appears in hot, dry weather. Roses with deep roots can withstand it, so the best way to prevent powdery mildew is to water infrequently but profusely to encourage the plants to push their roots deep into the soil.
Fight fungal disease: Treat your roses to a tonic of sulphur, a powder contained in most rose feeds. It helps to unlock inaccessible nutrients in the soil, gives your roses a boost and helps to combat black spot and powdery mildew. Roses grown in more industrialised areas tend to be free of black spot.