Gardening Magazine


By Notcuttsuk @notcuttsuk

One of my favorite shrubs is the Mock Orange Blossom (Philadelphus) and we have two in our garden. They are very easy to grow in sun or partial shade and soil which is not too dry. At this time of the year, the beautifully scented flowers are beginning to open - glowing white against their bright green backdrop.

Like many flowering shrubs the blossoms only last for a few weeks but the bubble gum scent makes them a memorable plant and I always look forward to the following summer when I can breathe in the fragrance once again.

Roses on the other hand have it all. Beautiful blooms in almost any color you wish, from simple singles with fluffy yellow centres that bees love to clamber over, to the old fashioned ‘Cabbage Roses’ - packed full of petals in flat flowers that resemble a cabbage that has been sliced in half showing its complicated heart. Most of the old fashioned shrub roses have delicious scents so that I want to bury my nose and never stop inhaling! Many, unlike the Mock Orange Blossom, will ‘repeat flower’ through the summer and early autumn or put on a tremendous midsummer show.

The New English Roses, many bred by David Austin, are the best of both worlds. They combine the flower shapes and more often than not the heady scent of old roses, along with more modern day repeat flowering and resistance to the pesky diseases that roses can be prone to. Black spot and mildew are often rife in the older varieties and can debilitate them to the extent that they will never thrive. Good growing conditions are always a help; they like to be planted in rich soil that is retentive – that means that it should not be too wet or too dry. Adding organic matter such as blended stable manure or homemade compost to the soil before planting and applying the same as mulch around your plants in spring and again in late autumn should do the trick. Feeding twice each year with a suitable fertiliser such as Top Rose is a good idea – once in late spring and again in the summer after the first flush of flowers has gone. If the plants are ‘in good heart’ they are more likely to fend off serious attacks of pests and diseases.

Weather conditions also play a part in the likelihood of diseases and pests appearing in numbers. Warm, humid weather is ideal for aphids to breed and mildews to multiply, so a preventative spray of Roseclear is a good plan when these conditions arise – especially in early summer when there is lots of soft, fresh growth on the plants!

Clematis are the perfect partners for Roses and planting one to clamber through a climbing rose is an old idea but one that can be used effectively in a small garden. A contrasting color can be used to highlight the beauty of both the rose and the Clematis or a variety can be chosen to flower at a different time of the year, using the framework of the rose as a support and extending the season of interest. For ease of maintenance, I like to choose plants that flower after the end of June (Group 3) or early flowering species which flower in winter or spring and are in Group 1. Clematis in Group 1 require little or no pruning – just a tidy of long summer growths should they get out of hand – and those in Group 3 are pruned hard at the beginning of February which means that the old growth can be chopped off and simply pulled from the framework of the rose ready to start growing once again for a late summer show.

Like roses, Clematis are ‘gross feeders’ and will relish the same attention as their hosts – perfect partners for sure.

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