Everything’s Rosy In Winter

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Because roses are traditionally grown in the ground and dug out during their dormant period, winter’s the season when rose plants are widely available. They’re commonly found on sale with their roots protected by moisture-holding material and wrapped in a plastic outer sleeve. The bare, thorn-studded stems that protrude from the bag don’t look very promising but, within a few months, these stems will be bursting with new growth and, eventually, beautiful flowers. Bare-rooted roses can also be bought and sent through the mail, although the most popular varieties are often sold out before winter arrives.

Choosing which rose to grow can be difficult but there are many varieties today that don’t just give you lovely blooms, they support good causes. Some suggestions are the pink ‘Jane McGrath’ rose that raises funds for the Jane McGrath Foundation, ‘Best Friend’, described as ‘vibrant pink to deep plum’ that helps the RSPCA, and ‘The RSL Rose’, an unusual red with a buff-coloured reverse. Funds raised from sales of ‘The RSL Rose’ go towards supporting returned veterans and their families. ‘Mother and Daughter’ is a new release that helps continue research into motor neurone disease. Another new one for this year is the ‘Daniel Morcombe’ rose (pictured), a vibrant, velvety red bloomer that makes a fitting tribute to young Daniel and his family as well as providing funds for the Daniel Morcombe Foundation.

Some roses – such as ‘City of Adelaide’, ‘City of Newcastle’ and ‘City of Goulburn’ – are named for particular locations. Debate rages as to whether increased sales in the area thus honoured outweigh the limitations to the name’s appeal in other parts of the country. There are even roses for racehorse fans. ‘Makybe Diva’ is described as having elegant blooms of pale pink with a hint of apricot at the centre. ‘Black Caviar’ has red flowers with purple-black on the edges of the petals.

Planting bare-rooted roses

When your new rose arrives it’s best to try to plant it as soon as possible. If it’s in a plastic bag you can keep it in a cool spot for a couple of weeks but, if you have to wait for any length of time, plant the rose temporarily into a garden bed. This is called ‘heeling in’. Before planting or heeling in discard any packaging and soak the root system in a bucket of water for a few hours.

Choose a wind-protected spot that gets at least six hours of sun a day. It should be well away from competing roots and not in an area where roses have grown in recent years. Dig the soil to about 30cm deep and add some old organic matter and a couple of handfuls of Dynamic Lifter pellets. Dynamic Lifter is ideal because it will encourage new root growth without burning. Mix this in thoroughly before creating a planting hole with a small mound in the base.

Spread the roots over the mound and fill around them with soil. Water deeply and keep well watered over the coming weeks. Monitor the new rose carefully, especially in windy spring weather, as it will be vulnerable to drying out until the roots are well established. Have a Yates Rose Gun Advanced or a bottle of Rose Shield ready to control spring pests and diseases. Feed once new growth appears in spring with Dynamic Lifter Flower Food.


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