Longlasting: What other present under R200 can give pleasure for 15 - 20 years?
With many more people staying home this festive season and on constrained budgets, the present of a rose bush is an idea to be considered. What other gift for under R200 can give pleasure for 15 to 20 years, which is the average lifespan of a rose?
What’s in a name?
Roses are easy to personalise. Many roses have people’s names (mostly women) and what could be nicer than being presented with a bush that shares your name?
Think of Amy’s Rose (yellow/ coral Spire), Antoinette (apricot cream hybrid tea), Kayla (deep pink mini), Monica (cream gold hybrid tea), Nomzamo (warm salmon Fairytale) or Sandra (ivory pink hybrid tea) to name a few.
There are also roses with very special messages, like Beauty from Within, one of our best selling hybrid tea roses, Remember Me, a strong growing Antico Moderno rose, Forever Friends
(double apricot-cream blooms) or Heart Throb, a shapely salmon-pink hybrid tea.
Fragrant roses and those with large old-fashioned blooms never seem to go out of favour. More and more new roses do have a perfume, some stronger than others and with different fragrances, spicy, sweet, or fruity.
No garden, no problem
Like almost all other plants, roses grow well in containers. These just need to be large and deep enough to accommodate the roots.
Even if there is no garden, a container rose can be a feature at the front door, on the patio or in the tiniest of gardens.
They just need plenty of morning sun, regular watering and fertilising once a month to look good. Once the hard lockdown eased I became aware of so many new gardeners, mainly young couples with families who wanted to beautify their surroundings.
Growing tips for newbies
Growing roses has been surrounded with a mystique for so long that many feel a bit daunted by what they imagine is required to grow roses. I’ve enjoyed breaking the news to them that it is actually very easy and takes less effort that mowing the lawn every week.
Added to that, most new roses are highly disease-resistant, and the spreading, bushy varieties are more drought tolerant too.
The basic care for roses is simple; regular, deep watering at least once a week, and fertilising with Vigorosa once a month. The fun part is picking the roses and removing dead blooms to keep the bush looking neat.
How to plant new roses
This is one area where there is lots of anxiety. Here is an easy guide: Rose plants established in plant bags or containers are at different stages of maturity. It is easy to see or feel. Well established roses would have a fairly dense root system which becomes evident when cutting off the plant bag.
With such plants it is important to submerge the root ball in a bucket of water, allowing all the air bubbles to get out and then pull some roots free, even breaking the root ball when settling it in the new planting hole.
When this is not done, the leaves draw all the water out of the original root ball, which dries out and pushes the fresh water away instead of absorbing it.
If it is obvious that a younger plant has not yet formed a dense root ball it is best to settle it in the new plant hole at the right level and only then cut the plastic bag and gently remove it, with a minimum of root ball disturbance. Fill up with the prepared soil mix.
Another important aspect is not to fertilise a newly planted rose. The prepared planting soil has likely been enriched with compost or some manure and even a slow release fertiliser.
As new roots are being formed to grow into this they would have nutrients to absorb with the water. If the new growth shows with light green leaves after a month or so, a little fertiliser may be applied.
Once that is done, just enjoy the roses and the beautiful blooms it produces. The bumper 2021 rose catalogue will be at Ludwig’s Roses outlets from this weekend.
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