For those of you who thought that a rose was just a rose, (as I pretty much did) then welcome to a whole new world that you can explore. In David Austin’s book “The Rose” you can kind find a plethora of concise and expertly crafted information on the different types of roses and how long they have been around. To the uninitiated there are tea roses, floribunda roses, climbing roses and rambling roses and I suspect that everyone is aware of those. What I found most interesting and inspirational is the concept of using the older roses that only flower once per year in your garden. This was the norm until the introduction of the Chinese repeat flowering roses. David Austin comments in his book that we have become so used to having repeat flowering roses in our gardens that the concept of a rose that only flowers once is almost alien to us. However, if you have a larger garden with enough space why not plant an Alba, Gallica or a Damask rose? Because these only flower once per year they are absolutely stunning as all of their energy and love goes into producing one glorious display of flowers. I for one have purchased and planted 8 of these roses and a good point is made by David Austin that we expect no more from other shrubs like rhododendrons for example. I have planted mine alongside paths where they can be admired as you stroll along the many paths in our garden. Admittedly we are lucky enough to have 16 acres at our disposal but even in a smaller space I think that they can be a show piece. I have chosen (as a starting point) Celsiana, Quatre Saisons, York and Lancaster and the Alba rose alba semi plena. You can google these to get images or alternatively you could visit the David Austin website.
Now is the perfect time to plant bare root roses, the roots get a chance to spread and establish whilst the rose is not putting its energy into leaf and flower production.
I always plant mine with compost mixed with well-rotted horse manure and I don’t think that you can give them a better start than by sprinkling symbiotic fungi granules over the roots and into the planting hole.
I shall be posting photographs of these lovely roses next year when they are flowering but for now all I can do is look at their leafless branches and imagine the glory to come. Happy gardening!!