5 Tips on growing roses using organic methods in your garden

5 Tips on growing roses using organic methods in your garden

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Grow roses organically without using systemic herbicides to create a sustainable healthy ecosystem.

Tip 1.  Plant roses suitable for your garden's environment 

The best time to source plantsis by mail order from November through to March when the soil is moist and not bitten by frost. bare rooted plants from David Austin are of good quality, with a good root system and value for money.  Most roses grow best in a sunny, well aerated situation and like plenty of water.

Tip 2. Plant resistant varieties

Roses tend to suffer from a variety of pests and diseases. Amongst the most common are black spot, Aphids, powdery mildew, die back and rolling leaf sawfly. Along with good cultivation practices, choose roses from a specialist breeder and go for strong disease resistant varieties. 

Tip 3.  Roses are hungry feeders

Plant roses in fertile free draining soil with plenty of organic compost or manure added as a mulch in spring to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Tip 4.  Install a drip irrigation system

Irrigation systems save on time and are good value for money.  The Irrigation can be set on a timer to ensure roses benefit from having access to water when needed. The moisture is directed slowly to the roots and benefits from less evaporation.  Fertiliser and nutrient loss is at a minimum due to reduced water leaching. Weed growth and soil erosion decreases.  Foliage remains dry preventing the spread of fungal disease.

Tip 5.  Companion planting

Combining roses with other plants enhances the display and prolongs the flowering season.  Strong scented plants like lavender, alliums and marigold's ward off aphids, beetles and prevent diseases like black spots. Introducing plants attract predatory insects such as ladybugs and lacewings and Pollinating insects such as bees, butterflies and moths. 

Suggested plants to prolong the flowering season in a rose bed

For an early display and food for bumble bees, before the roses start to flower, underplant with a succession of spring bulbs such as snowdrops, crocuses, narcissi and tulips.  Blue flowers go with most other colour roses and are attractive to honey bees. Planting campanula, corn flower, agistache which also the butterflies and moths love, nepeta, nigela, lavender, Salvia, allium, cosmos, asters work well liking similar growing conditions, sun and free draining soil. These perennials will put on a show of flower through out the summer well in to autumn. Some plants on the other hand for example lavender plant 2 - 3 feet away from roses as they tend to grow better in poor soil.

The seaside rose - Rosa rugosa

Here is a rose that everyone should grow because unlike the dog rose which blooms just once rugosa puts on a show of flower continuously throughout the year up to the first frost. Often rugosa has attractive rose hips which can be a welcome food source for birds. This flowering rose shrub will grow in all soil types, even on sand dunes and tolerates salt spray, and wind no problem, doesn't require fertiliser or suffer from disease. This value for money plant certainly get 10 out of 10 score from me!

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