Garden School:


Garden School:
Teaching this week: Rose pruning (as always!) and leaf mold.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Rose deadheading

One of my favourite occupations!

Here is one of my best-loved roses, it's a Gallica rose, a very old-fashioned one, which means that it is beautiful, scented, and tough: none of these over-bred, over-blown, rubbishy scentless roses that you get these days: this is a good strong old-fashioned rose, which comes back year after year with minimal maintenance.

They form a low bush, and this particular one, Rosa mundi 'Versicolour' has dark pink striped petals.

Like all roses, you get the best from them if  you dead-head them as soon as the flowers start to fade. Oh, except for Rosa rugosa, that rough tough hedging rose, which forms wonderful fat red tomato-like hips in autumn. That one, you don't dead head. Most others, you do.

With Rosa mundi, there is an additional reason for deadheading - the petals are large and remarkably resilient, so if falling petals are dampened by dew or rain, they can easily wrap themselves around adjacent buds, preventing them from opening.

So once a week I go round with the secateurs, carefully removing any fading flowers.

 Here is the "after" picture - yes, all those lovely colourful splodges have gone, but just look how many buds there are, just waiting to open!

It tidies up the whole plant, and reduces the carpet of soggy and browning petals that you otherwise get on the grass below.
And here is the result - half a bucket full of petals and stems, to go straight on the bonfire heap.  I don't compost them: to do so, I would have to remove all the stems, leaves and dead head, as they are very prickly and would spoil the texture of my compost. When I am being paid by the minute, as it were, it just isn't worth wasting time on it.

And could the petals not be used for pot-pourri, you ask? No - for that, you need to take the petals before the flower is fully opened, so these tired old ones just wouldn't be any good - not to mention the fact that many of them have already gone brown. Nope - it's the bonfire heap for them.

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