Planting bare-root Roses

People often think that roses are difficult to grow, but nothing could be further from the truth. Roses are very easy plants to grow and are available in shapes, sizes and colours to suit every garden.
   Roses will thrive in almost any soil and are happiest in slightly heavy soils, with a high proportion of clay which makes them very suitable for the conditions we have here in Donegal. Roses should be planted in full sun if possible but will tolerate light shade. If you buy roses in pots they can be planted they can be planted at any time of the year, but now is a great time to plant them bare-root as they are still in their dormant season and if planted now they will be well established and ready to flower by the time summer comes.
   When planning a rose bed you should select a site in full sun with reasonably well drained soil. The ground should be prepared by first removing all grass and weeds. The soil should then be dug and well cultivated to a depth of about 12-15 inches. A good depth of soil will allow the roses to develop a strong root system which will both anchor and feed the plant through the flowering season. Plenty of organic matter such as compost or well rotted farmyard manure should then be dug into the soil along with a small fistful of specialist Rose fertilizer for every plant. Holes should then be dug and the plants set in so that the bud union on the stem is just above the soil level. Fill in around the plant firming the soil well with your foot. When you have finished planting, the soil around the plants should be soaked thoroughly and this watering should continue through the first growing season until the plants are well established.
   There is a huge range of roses on the market these days and many people wonder which varieties are best suited to their garden. While many people say that you should only buy roses with a high disease resistance factor the truth is that there is no such thing as a totally disease resistant rose and almost all roses will need the same amount of care. If you get yourself into a regular spraying regime through the flowering season there is no reason why you can’t grow any type of rose in your garden, which should leave your choice of variety as only a matter of taste. It’s worth remembering however that while all roses should thrive in our climate, roses with tighter flower heads are more suited to life in Donegal as the flowers tend to be less effected by late summer showers.
© Copyright, Highland Landscapes, Letterkenny, 2008.