Roses can be a beautiful addition to your garden and they are not as difficult to look after as you may think.
A nice sunny spot with free draining soil is ideal for standards and bush roses while climbing roses can either be grown up a wall or a frame to add structure and height. Grit can be added into the soil if drainage is an issue (heavy clay soils). Before planting, work in some good quality organic matter such as farmyard manure into the soil. Make sure to excavate a hole 6 to 10 inches deeper and wider than the root ball and backfill with extra compost and general fertiliser.
Roses that have been grown in containers can be planted all year-round, but bare root or containerised roses should be planted while the plant is still in dormancy (Early spring) to give the plant a good foothold for the following summer. If planting bare root roses, examine the full plant for damage or deadwood and soak for a couple of hours prior to planting.
Established roses can be pruned to encourage new growth once frosts have subsided. Pruning roses will help maintain a good shape to the bush and encourage the rose towards bigger blooms. Always use sharp secateurs and cut at an angle a couple of centimetres above a node.
Clean your knives, tools and secateurs regularly to prevent transmitting diseases.
Pruning other Shrubs
There is still time to prune some established shrubs such as Cornus, eucalyptus, and buddleja to maintain shape and vigour, and early flowering shrubs such as forsythia and flowering currants can be pruned to shape once flowers have faded.
Trees and shrubs can be given a well-balanced fertilizer (growmore, fish blood & bone) now to help boost growth. Well-rotted manure or speciality compost can also be added around the soil of acid-loving plants (ericaceous) such as camellia’s, blueberry’s, azaleas, skimmias and rhododendrons.
Weeds will be starting to spring up everywhere now and need to be dealt with. Regularly weeding from now on will help stop any weeds from getting to flower and setting seed. Time spent on weeding now will also help save you time later on in the year.
Using a good sturdy hoe to lift the weeds roots up will give you the best success. Patios and drives can be cleaned to stop any algae/moss from growing and an organic weed and moss killer can be used directly on the area on dry days.
Early veg, onion and potato sets
Early vegetables started undercover can be hardened off now (acclimatise to outdoor, colder weather). Onions and potatoes can be planted now either in the ground or in specially designed containers to be ready for summer harvest.
It's still too cold to buy/transport pond fish. Wait until the weather has remained constant to avoid stress and illness.
It’s starting to warm up and ponds are coming back into life. Here are a few things you can start to get on with.
Sorbaria sorbifolia 'sem'
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