Which Rose – Dilemma over!

Years ago, when I first started gardening, I actually avoided roses – the first few I’d planted were almost devoid of flowers and I thought I just didn’t have the knack for them. In fact I was quite right – at the time I was under the mistaken apprehension that once a plant was put in the earth it would just fend for itself! Once I’d learned that most plants, roses included, need a modicum of care, not surprisingly success followed. My current attitude is that you just can’t have enough roses in a garden and there is always room for one more!

A new rose growing opportunity arose this summer as I decided to plant a rose bed in the existing box encircled bed at the side of the house. This bed has been crying out for a permanent theme and after visiting a friends’ garden in July, I had a light bulb moment – roses. My dilemma of course, was the rose itself – which one!

A visit to David Austin Roses in Albrighton to take advice on selection and observe growing habit, colour and fragrance was invaluable and after ‘shortlisting’ a few, I eventually chose rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’. It wasn’t an easy choice and this was quite an expensive decision, but in the end Lady Emma’s vibrancy, both in colour and fragrance, was the clincher.

Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ on David Austin Roses website

David Austin supply bare root as well as potted roses. I’ve read a lot of advice about planting roses in dormancy and as Lady Emma was available bare rooted from November onwards, I decided to be patient and wait (the cost was also an important consideration – bare root plants are significantly cheaper!).

My roses arrived last week with an excellent planting instruction leaflet. I’d got quite a few weeds to remove before planting, 8 roses ready and waiting to plant, soil improver to be dug in and guess what – torrential rain followed by two days of hard frost! However, on Tuesday afternoon, it was bright and sunny, all frost gone and by then we’d had four rain free days. The soil was just right for digging and so after I’d removed the weeds, Chris got stuck in – digging 8 deep wide holes.

The bases were then covered in a layer of soil improver, the rose roots were sprinkled with mycorrhizal fungi and then placed as per instructions with about an inch of the stem beneath the soil line.

After back filling with a mixture of the existing soil and soil improver, my roses were in their new homes – all that was left to do was give them a drink. They’ll be fed with Vitax Q4 twice next year, firstly in late February/early March as they wake up and then again in late June in order to encourage a repeat flush.

For now, I have another long wait and something lovely to look forward to next summer!