A few late summer tasks carried out now will ensure that your roses are in good health for the future, but for many, it will also ensure that the blooms keep on coming!
Roses, roses, roses!
They say that roses grow on you, and after the display that they’ve made this year, this isn't surprising!
It may have been last year's hot and dry summer that resulted in so many blooms. I’m sure that the relatively mild winter helped too.
I now live in south Somerset, and the soil in the immediate vicinity is mostly clay. Roses, once established, do well on these heavy soils, and I’ll be devoting a significant part of my new garden to them.
However, I will not plant a single rose until I’ve erected a deer fence. Next to apple shoots and runner beans, roses are a deer’s favourite garden plant!
Pruning and Deadheading
With many bush roses, there’s a good chance that some action now will help continue the show of colour. Those Hybrid Tea, Cluster Flowered [formerly known as Floribunda] and English roses will continue to flower right through until late autumn. They will be encouraged to do this if you regularly remove flowers as they fade, termed deadheading.
It’s okay to nip off each browning flower to stop the plant wasting energy on seed production. But it’s better to cut back into the flowering stem too. Aim to cut back the stem to remove at least two leaves as well as the fading flower. This will stimulate fresh, strong growth with flower buds at the top.
Of course, many roses flower only once and won't do it again until next year.
Shrub species and rambling roses are among those that flower only once. These can be pruned now to encourage strong, healthy shoots on which next year’s blooms will appear.
Even climbing roses - which repeat flower into late summer- will benefit from being pruned. Try to encourage fresh, strong shoots to grow from near the ground. Tie these in as they develop.
Roses are hungry plants and respond well to being given more feed now.
The main feeding time is during winter. But a top-up at this time of the year will work wonders! Sprinkle a specialist rose fertiliser around each plant and gently hoe into the soil surface.
Of course, you can use a general fertiliser such as Growmore or fish blood and bone meal. But one blended especially for roses will lead to healthier plants that have fewer fungal problems.
Pest and Diseases
While the onslaught of greenfly is now past, fungal problems are still waiting to attack your roses!
Well pruned and well-fed roses are in better shape to resist this attack. But regular sprays that coat new shoots in a protective layer will go a long way to preventing your bushes from blackspot, powdery mildew and rust.
So don’t let up on the spraying now if you want more colourful and sweetly scented roses growing until autumn!