Posts Tagged ‘bare root’

The right way with roses

November 29th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Rose 'Pompadour' (right) and 'Amelie Nothomb'

Why am I writing about roses in November? Yes, got it in one: planting time. And not planting potted roses from the garden centre but planting bare root roses from Mr F. So, what’s so good about bare root roses?

Firstly, bigger root systems. When nurseries pot up roses they have to cut off half the roots to squeeze them in the pot so by the end of the first season, bare root roses will have overtaken potted roses because of their larger root system.

Secondly, the compost nurseries use in the pots tends to run out of nutrients fairly quickly. Planting bare root plants into soil that you yourself have improved with long lasting soil improver is a better bet.

So. When your plants arrive soak the roots in water with SeaSol organic seaweed concentrate added and then plant them in the usual way – just make sure that you’ve improved the soil with weed-free soil improver, or with traditional well-rotted manure if you can get it.

Varieties? There are thousands. But Mr F are the only people who list all these outstanding French varieties created by the legendary Delbard family in France. They bring together two vital features, fragrance and disease resistance, into a range of roses ideal for small gardens.

I’m not going to rattle through them all, you can check them on the website, but two especially appeal. ‘Pompadour’ (above right) is a super scented pink Floribunda with old fashioned flowers and ‘Amelie Nothomb’ is a neater apricot Floribunda – and both have that mildew and black spot resistance we all crave in our roses.

Order now, if the soil’s still too wet to plant when they arrive just heel them in until the soil is workable – as long as you get them in by the end of February they should be fine.

Wallflowers the old fashioned way

October 25th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Wallflowers 'Cloth of Gold', 'Purple Prince', Ivory White' and 'Fire King'

It’s wallflower time… No, I don’t mean that it’s flowering time, of course not, but it’s the traditional time for planting wallflowers grown in in the traditional way.

You can buy wallflowers in packs in the garden centre, these days, but the plants tend to be small and the varieties are usually only the dwarf ones; full size wallflower plants are far too big for packs. I’ve also seen wallflower plants sold individually in 9cm pots or in threes in 12cm pots. But that’s a very expensive way of buying them.

The traditional approach is to buy them as bare root plants, plants dug from rows on the nursery and grown from seed sown in summer. They’ve been on sale in my local market for the last few weeks but I’m always concerned about clubroot.

Wallflowers suffer from the same clubroot disease that attacks cabbages and other brassicas but market sellers – how can I put this politely? – are not always aware that they might be selling wallflowers infected with the disease. So I always warn people off market and farm gate wallflowers.

So order your bare root wallflowers from Mr F, they’re specially cultivated to eliminate the possibility of infection and checked carefully before packing – and in fact dispatch has just started. Old fashioned varieties such as ‘Cloth of Gold’, ‘Fire King’, ‘Ivory White’ and ‘Purple Shades’ reach about 45cm and need tall tulips planted amongst them as partners. The 35cm ‘Persian Carpet’ is a sparkling shorter mixture.

There won’t be much soil on the roots when they arrive but soak the roots for an hour or two in SeaSol Organic Seaweed Concentrate to speed up new root growth and plant them straight away. Even if they look a little bedraggled at first they’ll soon settle in and next spring – wow!

Roses from France

December 15th, 2017 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Rose 'Claude Monet' by Fabrice Moireau

Mr Fothergill’s is a seed company, right? Of course. But that’s not all. Young plants, perennials and also roses feature in the listings and the roses are rather special.

All the roses were developed in France by the historic Delbard rose specialists, who over the decades have introduced some of our loveliest varieties, including the seven chosen for the Mr F range.

These are supplied in the traditional way, “bare root” – that is, dug from their rows in the nursery and sent out without soil on the roots. Newcomers to rose growing can find this rather alarming but, as I discovered earlier this year, it’s a system that works very well.

My bare root roses arrived in February, while I was away. My neighbour simply left the package in a cool place outside until I returned in March – but their new planting site was not ready. I unpacked them and heeled them in: I dug a trench, set out the plants in a row and simply covered the roots with soil.

It must have been early April before they were properly planted, but they did well and produced some lovely blooms in their first summer. Even if the roots dry out they can be revived by a couple of hours in a bucket of water.

I find the small Floribundas, ‘Amelie Nothomb’ and ‘Dolce Vita’, especially appealing and, reaching only about 60cm in height, they’re ideal for small spaces or containers. The climbers, ‘Amnesty International’ and ‘Claude Monet’, are unusually disease resistant which is especially valuable when they’re grown on a wall..

The Delbard nursery, in central France, was founded by Georg Delbard and is now run buy his grandson Arnaud Delbard. They also develop disease resistant apples and pears.

* The watercolour of ‘Claude Monet’ climbing rose is by Fabrice Moireau and is taken from the 1994 book A Passion For Roses by Henri Delbard.