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JUNE 2024

Well the summer is here and that means that we are surrounded by roses! Their colour fills the garden and their scents the pathways. There are many types of roses from the one-time flowering to those that will last from May until the October frosts.

With so many to pick from I wanted to look at their different attributes and things to think about when choosing them.


I suspect that for the majority of people their starting point with roses is the flowers. They can be arranged in 'sprays', or as more singular flowers, highly sculpted or more natural looking. They can be 'simple' such as 'Sally Holmes' (below right), or more textural and multi-petalled such as 'Darcy Bussel' (above right).

Think about whether you perhaps want more historic one-time flowering roses to be followed by ornamental hips or repeat flowerers for a longer season of blooms.

The colour will have a significant impact when combined with other plants in the garden, but it is important not to overlook the scent. An often neglected aspect in many gardens, the fragrances produced by roses are a particularly defining feature of the summer.

One final thought with regards to the flowers is how they die. This might seem odd, but consider that as the next flowers emerge the first flowers are dying back, some may be soaked by rain, scorched by the sun or dishevelled by the wind. Some types do this more attractively than others, and this is worth thinking about when choosing a plant that will be central to many planting displays.


Roses come in different sizes, ramblers - climbers - shrubs - ground cover.

Check the final size of the specific rose, and pick one that suits the space. On the right is 'Bobbie James', a small rambler that covers its corner of wall space perfectly, but would be far too much pruning work in a smaller area.


Not something often considered with roses, but as with other plants the leaves/foliage form a significant chunk of the plant's appearance, and so it's worth giving them a bit of thought.

On the right is the species rose Rosa glauca, which has lovely grey older leaves, pink young leaves, and pink petioles with pink/red stems. For a rose that flowers just once this particular rose still has many aspects to recommend it.

For many roses Black Spot in particular can be a problem but some varieties are disease resistant helping to ensure that the foliage remains in good health, and reducing the need to spray fungicides.


More usually a drawback of roses, there are some thornless varieties of roses making pruning a little easier.

Generally I find that you get used to the thorns, and learn to work around them.

One of the more interesting types is Rosa omeiensis pteracantha (shown right), this is a species rose that is grown principally for the colour of its young thorns.

Think about all aspects of a rose when choosing one or indeed many for the garden. Their huge versatility has ensured that they have been grown for many centuries across the world, but forget any kind of fashions or fads. Choose what works best in your particular space and intrigues you most.

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Very good points raised, some of them I had not considered. If this is a taste of the July course I am looking forward to it!

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