Les Hodge | Summer prune reaps autumn rewards

HORTICULTURE HERITAGE: The longevity and popularity of the Peace rose, created in 1952, is a testament to its versatility.
HORTICULTURE HERITAGE: The longevity and popularity of the Peace rose, created in 1952, is a testament to its versatility.

Gardeners who pruned their roses in February should have had a few early blooms in April, and by the middle of the month, will be in the midst of the full flush of autumn blooms with quite a few quality flowers to come in May and possibly even a few in June.

The non-pruned roses will probably finish most of their autumn blooms by the middle of this month and consequently, will have a long wait until mid-October for their next flowers of any worth.

This is the main reason we should summer prune, especially with the hybrid teas.

Gardeners contemplating planting a few new roses this year should be looking around at roses in bloom at the moment.

If this is not possible, have a look through the catalogues for the new releases.

Just Joey is possibly the most popular of those hardier rose types.

Just Joey is possibly the most popular of those hardier rose types.

I tend to look at catalogues that are about seven to ten years old and if I notice any of the roses are still available today, it’s a good indication to me that they are hardy and produce really good crops of flowers, otherwise they would have fallen out of favour and be discontinued by the commercial rose growers.

There are a few older varieties that have stood the test of time and if you come across any, they are well worth securing.

Of these tough types are Double Delight a great rose renown for its ability to use minimal water, the large-flowered Caribbean for its resistance to disease, Blue Moon the heavenly perfumed rose and probably the most popular, Just Joey with its coppery/orange flowers.

Peace has been around since 1952 and is one the great roses used to breed new varieties.

Then there is the ever-popular Iceberg, a cross between Robin Hood and Virgo, which is undoubtedly the best of the floribundas with its sprays of elegant white-flushed-with-pink blooms.

Others include the yellow-flowered floribunda Remembrance a favourite standard specimen, and Rosa de Rescht, one of the best Damasks with double, deep pink blooms.

The Christian Dior, released in 1958, has blooms comprised of 52 scarlet petals.

The Christian Dior, released in 1958, has blooms comprised of 52 scarlet petals.

Of the dark red flowering varieties Ena Harkness, bred in 1954, still remains one of the best roses for its profusion of stunning deep crimson-scarlet blooms over a long period of time, and Christian Dior introduced in 1958 with blooms made up of 52 petals of deep, velvety scarlet.

The ideal time to plant bare-rooted roses is in winter, but potted plants can be planted at any time of the year.

Choose an open, sunny and well-drained position with protection from the wind as this is essential for good blooms. Provide plenty of space between plants to allow for the free movement of air.

Water new plants the day before planting with Seasol.

Dig the hole large enough to take the roots which should be placed downwards and outwards over a small mound on the bottom of the hole.

With its stunning perfume, Blue Moon is also a favourite with rose lovers.

With its stunning perfume, Blue Moon is also a favourite with rose lovers.

Diary

April 14:  The Australian Plant Society’s Autumn Native Plant Sale at Max Fry Hall, Trevallyn, 10am-4pm.  

April 17:  The Australian Plant Society meets at the Max Fry Hall on Gorge Rd, Trevallyn at 7.30pm. Visitors are welcome. Hear experts talk on gardening with native plants.

April 18: The Launceston Horticultural Society meets at the Windmill Hill Hall, High Street, Launceston at 8pm.

April 19: The Launceston Orchid Society meets at the Newnham Uniting Church Hall, George Town Road, Launceston at 7pm.

April 21:  Autumn Spectacular at Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden, Burnie featuring Burnie Concert Band and the Segway Singers from 10am4pm.  Entry $10 adults, concession $8, children free.  Tea room open 10am – 4pm. 

April 21, 22: Launceston Horticultural Society’s Autumn Show St Ailbe’s Hall, Margaret Street, 2pm-5pm Saturday and 10am-4pm Sunday. Plant stalls, pottery demonstration, garden structures, jams and preserves. Admission $3 adults.