Well here I am back again, after bowing out to the Cooking Masterclass last week. We have been on the hop and last week was a cracking one, with a few frosty mornings thawing into beautiful crisp days; superb weather to be out and about. We had friends and family staying with us, so picnics were ticked off and much laughter was shared well into the night in front of Mr. Moble’s roaring fires. All in all, we did the week justice, I think.
A 2020 rose catalogue sits on my desk beside me; I had a perusal some weeks ago and felt quite relieved I would not be heading in any direction where they would be calling my name. If I can just resist those glossy pages a few weeks longer, I will have successfully made it through the catalogue season without weakening and ordering more roses. Not that I wish the growers any ill will, I have certainly been a consistent supporter for many years. Roses are my bete noir you see, so I plan to propagate them this year in lieu of rash investing.
For those of you who are lucky enough to be able to trawl through the bagged temptations, displayed seemingly at every turn outside any retail outlet this time of year, remember a little preparation will stand them in good stead. (My, listen to her preach when she is hundreds of kilometres from the nearest lurid label, drawing her in with the promise of Pink Passion on Ice).
A generous hole dug over with well- rotted manure would be an excellent start, with a morning sun aspect and some protection from the hot afternoon bake and accompanying hot, dry winds. Competition from larger trees will result in a lack-lustre, pallid face and here at Moble they prefer plenty of water but not wet feet. I do have roses planted throughout the garden; however, I think they prefer their own company and so for picking roses, I keep them in their own dedicated bed. The old- fashioned roses seem to compete better for space, water and nutrients and are easier to propagate from cuttings. They rarely disappoint with fragrance and colour, always remembering a rose without fragrance is just a thorn in your nose.
Check your pH, around 6.5 is ideal and do not fertilise when planting, let them settle in for a couple of months first. Ensure the roots are kept damp until you can plant them out, I overnight them in a bucket of water if pushed or heel them into a vegetable garden bed where the soil will be kind and welcoming until you have their room ready. Roses like a little space around them, don’t we all, so don’t cramp their style too much.
I am trialling an interesting idea I read recently in the Treloar 2020 rose edition: place an old bucket under your rose bush, one with holes in the bottom dear Liza. Fill with water and this will ensure at least the capacity of the bucket will leak onto the root area. I am using five litre ice-cream buckets (Mr. Moble is eating for a cause) with a small amount of old chook manure in the bottom, so they are receiving a liquid fertiliser boost with every top up. The buckets will need to be increased in size for summer and they will catch any extra sprinkler water as well, an extra reservoir as such. All in all, I think it should help top them up and deliver a targeted water, especially in hot weather. Of course, I hear you say, this will be no oil painting to look at; so I would urge for moderation when selecting a colour for the buckets and I am sure they can be nestled in amongst the mulch with a little persuasion. This could be a great asset for those of you who need to hand water or are using bore water and wish to supplement now and then with rainwater. Watch this space.
I see I have an email today imploring me that it is not too late to order, time will tell. If I do weaken, it will be for something fragrant in pink or cream, perhaps something that supports a cause, like Mr. Moble’s ice-cream efforts? My favourite rose is always the one flowering when I go out to pick them, so I am easily pleased. If you are lucky enough to be trawling through a table full of bagged promise this week, make sure the Children’s Rose snags your jumper. You will not be disappointed.
Whichever you choose, just don’t be the thorn in between.
The Moble Gardener