The end of June is a fantastic time here at the nursery, as the crop of containerised roses comes into full bloom 
They produce a riot of colour and fragrance! Every year we grow over 50,000 roses in our fields just next to the Malton Road, and whilst the majority are sold as bare root plant during the winter months, we pot up over 5000 of them so that they can be planted over the summer months. 
 
It takes 4 years to grow a rose, before it is ready for sale. The first two years are spent preparing the ground, incorporating a lot of organic matter, rotovating and clearing weed.  
 
This is to get the soil in the best possible condition so the rose has a good start. 
Then in March of the third year, the rootstocks are planted. 
In UK and the rest of Europe, almost all roses are budded onto rootstocks, chosen for their hardiness, long life and resistance to suckering. Roses will grow from cuttings taken in late Autumn – in the USA almost all roses are grown this way, on their own roots – and while this can be a cheaper and easier method, it means that virus can spread much more easily. 
 
In the July of year 3, budding begins. This is the skilled process of taking a single bud from the variety required (say R. ‘Iceberg’), and inserting it into a T-shaped cut low down on the rootstock. It’s back-breaking work – our skilled nurserymen spend 8 hours a day budding roses, and would expect to put on a thousand buds per day! The buds are then covered with a bio-degradable patch to keep moisture out. 
The following April, the top-growth of the rootstock is cut back, leaving just the inserted bud to grow away over the summer. Roses are pruned back to encourage nice bushy growth, and the plants are then available for sale in November, dug directly from the field. 
 
When planting roses in your own garden, there are a few golden rules to ensure the best chance of success. Roses are hungry and thirsty, so improve the soil with as much organic material as you can. Plant to the right level – the union between the rootstock and the top growth should be at soil level. Above all plant firmly, as roses can be rocked by the wind which can cause them to die. 
Deadheading is task many of us will be busy with over the summer – with roses be sure to take off a nice length of stem along with the spent flower. This will keep the plant under control, and stop it getting too ‘leggy’.  
 
A quick feed with a high potash fertiliser (Tomato feed will be fine) will help encourage repeat-flowering. 
On the 8th and 9th July, RV Roger Ltd will be hosting the Ryedale Rose Festival – a wonderful chance to come and see the best rose exhibits in the country, as well as a chance to talk to the experts and learn how to grow wonderful roses yourself.  
 
Pop along if you can! 
Tagged as: Roses
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