The long, hot days of summer are approaching – which means roses will give fast growth and large quantities of flowers, so some extra care is needed to maintain healthy plants.
In coastal districts, the prevailing climate will produce the greatest growth, so long as ample water is supplied.
Any watershoots found growing should be very carefully guarded, and if necessary, staked to protect against wind damage.
When growing in the centre of the plant watershoots can be gently eased to the outside and staked, taking great care not to break them as they are very brittle in the early stages.
In years gone by, in was common practice to cut watershoots out as it was believed that they drained too much energy from the rose bush.
But now, we realise that watershoots are needed to replace any old, worn out, wood that no longer bears quality blooms.
Keep removing all faded blooms and seed pods by cutting to an outfacing bud.
This will keep the plants growing and ensure a continuity of flowers.
Roses need to be watered regularly and heavily, so it is important for your soil to hold water.
Black spot can cause a serious setback to roses, as all their foliage is needed during the summer months for shade and to build up strength for autumn flowering.
A preventative spray regime against this defoliating disease at intervals of 10 to 14 days helps.
For mulch to be useful, it must be spread when the ground is moist, not dry and not applied too deeply.
About 15cm is quite adequate as thick mulch can prevent water from reaching down to the roots.
Some organic material can be spread over the surface of the mulch to supply some food for the roses.
Any suckers that appear from below ground level must be systematically removed from as near to the stem as possible.
Sucker are recognised by their small bright green leaves and pale green stems and must be removed from below the soil with a sharp knife.
Roses that are well fed, watered, fertilised, mulched and sprayed regularly against pests and diseases will reward gardeners with healthy, strong growth and marvellous displays of flowers.
Snapdragons on display
I recently saw a garden bed in a public park mass planted with snapdragons and it reminded me of how a simple plant, given the right growing conditions, can make such an eye-catching feature.
With their rich, non fading, tubular, double-lipped flowers, general hardiness and tolerance to dry conditions snapdragons will bloom profusely throughout the summer.
Plant seedlings in full sun in a well drained, rich soil that is ideally a bit on the alkaline side.
When they reach a height of 15cm pinch off the tops to ensure lateral growth, which should produce 10-12 flower spikes.
From the first bud stage, feed every second week with a soluble fertiliser. With a little care, you too can have an eye-catching display to make the summer garden memorable.
Daily: The Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden, at Romaine, Burnie. Open from 9am-5pm. Tea room open from 10am-4pm.
This garden has so much to offer everyone, keen gardeners or not, and is a place that is continuously making improvements no matter where you look. Among the many attractions to see now as you stroll through this large expanse are the deciduous azaleas with their vibrant blooms, some with an intoxicating fragrance to match.
This world-acclaimed botanical garden is run by volunteers and they are to be congratulated for their tireless work and dedication to make this magnificent place open for visitors to experience.