Ask the Gardener: Roses

OF all the shrubs to touch the senses, none does a better job than David Austin English Roses.

Not only do they look perfect with their rosette-shaped flowers that come in a wide variety of colours, they also smell divine with delicate fragrances that waft around the garden.

They remind me of the old roses found in my grandmother’s garden with that heavenly scent.

English roses have the delicate charm and fragrance of an old rose whilealso combining the wide colour range and repeat flowering of a modern rose. They have also proved more disease resistant than their counterparts.

English roses are mainly grown for their flower shape, fragrance and their natural shrubby growth and can be grown as shrubs 4 to 5 foot high or may be quite short no larger than 3 foot.

They may have bushy growth or may be gracefully arching, therefore they can be used in a mixed border, a rosebed, as climbers, in pots, as standards or as a hedge.

Q. I have an old rose bed that has been neglected over the years. I am thinking of replacing it this year with more roses. Can you recommend any good varieties?

A. I wouldn’t recommend planting roses in this bed as new roses don’t do well when planted where roses were already growing.

Some people get around this by replacing all the soil, but I would suggest leaving the bed empty for a few years.

Q. I have a small flower bed and would like to grow roses that will not grow too tall, less that 3.5 ft if possible. Can you suggest any varieties?

A. There are a number of English roses that can be kept short and bushyand that will flower continuously, ‘Munstead Wood’ and ‘Darcey Bussell’ are two very nice deep red varieties and ‘Molineux’ is a lovely yellow flowering rose.

Q. I have a wall that is sheltered but it only gets the afternoon and evening sun. Would it be possible to plant an English rose climber on this wall and if so can you suggest good varieties?

A. Roses need light and sunshine but half day sunshine is sufficient. When planting your rose, place some polythene against the wall after digging the hole and this will prevent the wall taking some of the moisture from the soil. Roses need a lot of moisture and feeding and will perform better and become less prone to insect attacks when they are maintained properly. Some good English roses that can be grown as climbers are ‘Graham Thomas’, ‘Golden Celebrations’,‘James Galway’ and one of my all-time favourites ‘Gertrude Jekyll’.

* If you have any gardening questions, you can contact Charlie by visiting www.thepavilion.ie, facebook.com/thepavilioncork , or via twitter @the_pavilion

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