Keep your roses blooming for longer with a little extra attention this month so they can keep performing at their absolute peak.
Roses are wonderfully easy to grow, producing a summer’s worth of blooms in return for an annual prune and a good rich soil. But there are a few little tricks you can use at this time of year to keep that display at its best.
First of all, keep picking! Snipping away the flowers just above a pair of leaves (the new shoots – bearing more flowers – will sprout from the junction between stem and leaf) stimulates new growth and allows you to sneak a few blooms inside to fill up your windowsills with colour and scent.
As well as cutting blooms for the house, dead-head blooms individually once they’re past their best. As soon as the flowers start to fade, use a sharp pair of secateurs to snip off the spent blooms, again cutting a little further down the stem to just above a pair of leaves.
While you’re tending your roses, keep an eye out for pests and diseases. Rose sawfly grubs roll up the leaves and hide inside for protection while they feed, so look out for these tube-like leaves and pick them off right away. Aphids collect on tender buds and shoot tips; you can squish small numbers between finger and thumb, or spray with a pyrethrum-based organic insecticide, available from our garden centre here in Henley on Thames. And you may also spot early signs of the dreaded blackspot; a preventive spray with fungicide is the answer here, so pick up a bottle from the garden centre today ready to spring into action.
Just a few minutes’ attention once a week keeps your roses in tip-top condition, producing heartbreakingly beautiful blooms through till autumn, year after year. Now that’s what we call time well spent!