ROSES are at their peak in June, but if you care for them properly over the summer some varieties will repeat flower until the end of autumn.
The best flowers follow a cool but not freezing winter and mild spring days with cold nights that help to keep diseases at bay.
A largely frost-free spring also helps to keep them in top condition for blooming in June, but while the weather is outside your control there are several things you can do in summer to help keep roses looking healthy.
Hopefully you gave your roses a good feed at the start of the growing season in late March or early April, but repeat flowering roses need to be fed again in June with any good rose feed. Note to self, that’s a job still to be done.
Top tip – don’t discard your banana skins to the compost they are high in potassium which roses love, simply chop up the skins and scatter at the base of the rose bush, easy to do and your roses will appreciate it.
This will give them a boost and help them to produce more flowers, although you will also need to deadhead them so they don’t put all their energy into producing seeds. The best way to do what is effectively summer pruning is to cut the stem that has flowered back to two or three buds on this year’s growth.
But don’t deadhead roses that only have one flush of flowers, because the rose hips will brighten your garden in winter and provide food for birds. Watering your roses well during late spring and early summer is also essential, when flowers are either imminent or in full swing. This not only helps them to flower but also avoids water stress in the plant, which can cause powdery mildew in summer.
Spraying with a fungicide and insecticide such as Rose Clear can help to prevent or treat mildew, but don’t over spray your roses because that can cause other problems.
To keep the fungal disease, Black Spot at bay you should be pruning in the new year so each plant as good ventilation, don’t crowd your roses with too many leafy herbaceous plants, if your roses have Black Spot ensure all leaves are collected from both the plant and fallen leaves disposed of either by burning or in the household rubbish but not in the composter to prevent the fungus contaminating the soil