News and Ideas

David Domoney on how to grow and maintain your rose garden

One of the UK’s favourite flowering plants is the rose, with an estimated 570 tonnes being shipped to the UK each February for Valentine’s Day. It is even the national flower of England, steeped in the history of the royal family.

Make sure you choose the perfect rose to add to your garden and find out how AMES Tools can help you to give them the very best care.

How to choose the right rose for your garden

There are so many different roses to choose from, with an estimated over 30,000 individual cultivars. Choosing a plant for your space, soil, aspect, needs, and other garden features will ensure they thrive. Here are the main rose groups to choose from:

Hybrid Tea and Floribunda Roses

One of the most popular rose types to grow in the UK is the Hybrid Tea rose; available in both bush and standard forms, they produce single flowers on the end of their stems. They tend to bloom less frequently than some other varieties.

Unlike Hybrid Tea roses, Floribundas flower continuously throughout the summer, and are easier to care for. The blooms, however, are consistently smaller than Hybrid Teas. They produce a cluster of flowers on the end of their stems.

Patio and Miniature Roses

These roses were produced out of the commercial need for more compact rose plants which could cope in smaller growing spaces, such as containers. They are most often Floribunda varieties which grow no larger than 45 to 55 cm in height.

Even smaller than Patio roses, Miniature roses have been bred, which can be as small as 22.5 cm in height. The tallest miniature roses are as big as the smallest Patio varieties, and each bloom is no larger than 5 cm across. 

Groundcover Roses

Classified separately from shrub roses due to their ability to spread, Groundcover roses became a separate group during the 1980s. Smaller creeping varieties don’t tend to reach over 45 cm tall, spreading just under 150 cm, whilst larger varieties can grow taller than 45 cm, and over 150 cm.

There are also arching groundcover varieties, which can be much taller, with small arching varieties up to 95 cm tall, spreading up to 150 cm, and large arching varieties at least 100 cm tall and spreading to 150 cm or more.

Climbing and Rambling Roses

Serving similar purposes, Climbing and Rambling roses have slightly different habits and flowering periods. Climbing roses are the slightly more favoured of the two. Mainly, this is because Rambling roses tend to have one flush of blooms in the summer, whilst Climbers flower several times. Climbers are great for covering walls and screens, whilst Ramblers are often used for their weeping abilities, and can be left to trail along the soil as ground cover too.

Shrub Roses

Shrub roses have been reducing in popularity, mainly because of their larger size and short blooming period. However, they should not be discounted, as many can have a long single flowering period, and produce lovely blooms with delightful fragrances.

How to plant roses

Firstly, you want to ensure where you are planting your roses is prepared. The Ames Tools Carbon Steel Stirrup Hoe is a great piece of kit to fully cultivate your soil ahead of planting. This hoe shape is perfect for clearing beds of stubborn weeds and stones ahead of planting. The carbon steel will help you make short work of tough soil, and the hole in the D-shape allows the weeds to be removed and filtered to the soil’s surface.

Plant bare-root rose plants in the late autumn and early winter, or late winter to early spring, during the plant’s dormant period so it can establish. Containerised and container-grown roses can be planted any time of the year, and make sure to plant them out as soon as you have brought them home.

Generally, roses prefer sunny positions with free-draining soil, though some varieties can cope with shady locations, so always check before planting. They also enjoy rich soil, so digging some organic matter like well-rotted manure into the planting position will be beneficial. Using an Ames Tools Stainless Steel Border Spade, dig a hole for your rose plant. This spade is ideal for planting roses in smaller spaces, with its narrow blade perfect for creating space between established plants.

For bare-root roses, this needs to be deep enough that the base of the stem is covered. Container climbing roses need a hole that will take the rose’s root mass comfortably, which should be about 40 cm wide, and 60 cm deep. Container-grown shrub roses should need a hole of a similar width to climbing roses, but less depth, at around 40 cm. Firm your plant in, and water well.

How to maintain your rose garden

Roses benefit from decent watering, just make sure when you do, you direct the water to the base of the plant rather than the blooms and foliage, to avoid the spread of fungal disease. In borders, roses could do with being watered well weekly during the peak of summer heat. Containers need to be watered more regularly, so ensure to check the soil as often as daily, and water accordingly.

For consistent and beautiful blooms, feed your rose plants in borders two times a year with a rose fertiliser. First, in mid-spring, before they have started flowering, then again in mid-summer, once the first flush of flowers has faded. If you have container roses, like watering, they need feeding more frequently due to limited access to nutrients. From mid-spring to late summer, they will benefit from feeding once every two weeks. Start with a general-purpose liquid fertiliser until the first buds form, and then switch to a high-potash fertiliser to encourage more blooms.

Deadhead any fading flowers each week, to save your plants the energy from producing rosehips to defer for flower production. Prune any dead or damaged shoots, and make sure when pruning to create plenty of space in the centre for air circulation.

Growing roses in your garden is worth the reward of the wonderful blooms and accompanying fragrances they offer in the summer. Using Ames Tools, ensuring your garden is perfectly prepped for these popular plants is virtually effortless.