Posts Tagged ‘rose’

Off with their heads!

July 12th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Deadheading scabious

Last week I brought you a little wisdom on watering from a book published over a hundred years ago: Annual & Biennial Garden Plants by A. E. Speer from 1911. And wise words they were too.

The other crucial item of summer plant care is dead heading and on this subject the good Mr Speer is more succinct. He tells us:
“Seed-pods should always as far as possible be picked off. This will prevent the plants from weakening themselves, and will prolong the flowering season. They cannot undergo the two operations together successfully.”

Got that? Good.

But different plants need different treatment. No one in their right mind would suggest picking off the fading flowers of lobelia or alyssum one by one – but a snip over with the kitchen scissors followed by a drink of liquid feed usually sets them up for a bright second flush of bloom.

Plants as varied as scabious (above), gaillardia, French marigolds and dahlias can have their faded flowers nipped off individually with a pair of secateurs. With phlox, sweet peas, foxgloves, hollyhocks and other plants that carry their flowers in a spike or cluster – well, you have to balance not allowing pods to develop with not cutting off flowers that are still at their peak. Always err on the side of an early rather than late snip.

Eventually you’ll have removed all the flower spikes of biennials such as hollyhocks and foxgloves and you can pull up and compost the ragged looking remains. Some perennials, especially many hardy geraniums, can be cut back to the ground but re-growth will be poor unless, at the very least, you give them a thorough soak. Ideally, follow that up with a generous dose of liquid feed to encourage attractive fresh new growth.

Roses are always a challenge. First, you need to snip out individual flowers from the clusters as the petals drop; then when the last flower has faded cut off the remains of the cluster at a leaf joint to spark new growth.

Once a week is not enough: Keep a small pair of sharp secateurs or kitchen scissors in your pocket whenever you’re in the garden and use them whenever a faded flower catches your attention. It makes a real difference

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.