BARE ROOT VS POTTED ROSES
Bare root roses are available at the nursery in March. Bare root roses are dormant plants supplied without soil. They are sold with sawdust covering the roots to prevent desiccation and, once purchased, should be planted as soon as possible. This form is easy to plant, establishes well and will typically bloom in the first year. This is how the vast majority of our roses are sold and our largest selection of varieties is available during bare root season. Pre-ordering is usually recommended as most varieties sell very quickly once the roses arrive.
Potted roses are typically available by late April or early May, depending on the weather. They are actively growing at that time, and in many cases starting to bloom – a good choice if you like to see what you are getting. No matter which you choose (potted or bare root), you can expect lots of blooms and nice sized plants, even in the first year. Climbers can take 2 or 3 years, sometimes longer, to develop their framework and to start blooming well.
The focus of our rose collection is on Floribundas, Hybrid Teas and Modern shrub roses. We generally stock newer varieties which are bred to be disease resistant, are often fragrant and have good repeat bloom. They don’t need special treatment and are at home either on their own or in a mixed planting.
We also offer a wide selection of David Austin English roses. They too will co-exist with other plants, but often benefit from a little extra pampering. They thrive in our climate and can be quite large so pay heed to the stated sizes and give them room to grow.
English Roses aka David Austin Roses were developed from crosses between old garden roses and modern hybrid teas. Over the years several distinct types have emerged, with their own particular characteristics. The three main groups are:
- English Old Rose Hybrids: The original English Roses, these have true old rose character. They bloom in soft pinks and shades of crimson and purple and form small to medium sized bushy shrubs. They make excellent garden roses that mingle well with other plants. Most have a strong fragrance.
- The Leander Group: More modern in character, they form large robust shrubs, with elegantly aching growth. The flowers are large and come in a wide range of colours, including rich yellows, coppery oranges and deep reds and pinks. They usually have a strong fragrance.
- English Musk Roses: Blooms are smaller and daintier, but the plants themselves can be quite robust. Colours are soft blush pinks, pale yellows and shades of apricot and peach. Fragrances are light.
English Roses as Climbers: Many English roses are vigorous and large enough to be grown as climbers. They are well suited to growing on fences, pillars and small arbors or trellises. They look good when trained along a horizontal fence or up an obelisk and then allowed to gracefully arch downward. The canes can be trained to bloom along their lengths but to do so they must be bent. A downward arch slightly bends the canes allowing for flower breaks.
Floribundas (Latin for many flowering) are bred by crossing small multi flowered polyantha roses with hybrid tea roses to create plants that bloom profusely like the polyanthas, but have the beauty and colour range of the hybrid teas. Plants are bushy and carry their blooms in large sprays. Floribundas are found in a wide range of colours and feature classic hybrid tea-shaped blossoms. They are usually good repeat bloomers and the newer varieties are especially healthy and vigorous.
Hybrid Teas: The classic, long-stemmed roses traditionally grown for cut flowers and exhibition. This rose group arose from crossing hybrid perpetual roses with tea roses and led to a proliferation of varieties in the mid 20th century. One of the most beloved class of roses, these roses developed a reputation as demanding and particular due to their susceptibility to disease. Luckily for us many of the newer varieties boast drastically improved disease resistance.
Shrub Roses: By definition a shrub rose is any rose that is not a hybrid tea or a floribunda, so it is a big catch all category that varies tremendously in form, hardiness and colour. It’s safe to say that within this group there is something for almost any situation and purpose.
THE MODERN WAY TO USE ROSES
Roses are coming out of the ‘Rose Garden’ and into the landscape where they fill many roles. In modern gardens roses are being used to:
- Create focal points – Use roses in mixed or shrub borders for summer colour and fragrance. A single rose trained onto an obelisk will add height and drama to a border planting.
- Create screening – Add trellises to make fences taller and grow climbers on them to create an effective (and friendly) screen.
- Keep out intruders and keep in the kids – Roses make great hedges. For example, a hedge of English roses or rugosas will provide a dense, impenetrable barrier, which will be full of colour and fragrance over a long season. Rose hedges can even be sheared with a hedge trimmer.
- Soften a wall – A bare expanse of wall is the perfect spot to train a strong climber.
- Create beautiful containers – Roses grow really well in big pots. Some. like Flower Carpet roses, will spill over the edges of a big hanging basket.
- Control erosion – The suckering nature of rugosas and many species roses, such as our native Nootka rose, make them excellent choices for stabilizing a bank. They are also very tolerant of seaside conditions.
- Cover a bare patch – Flower Carpet roses and many of the floribundas are very effective ground covers when planted en masse.
- Provide winter interest – Roses like Bonica, the rugosas and ‘Autumn Sunset’, to name just a few, have showy hips that brighten up the winter landscape. The trick is to not prune off the last blooms of the season – leave them to develop hips.