The QUEEN of flowers

Surrey Life|June 2020

The QUEEN of flowers
Be inspired by the beauty of the rose, with their rich variety of colours and heady scent, they are a quintessential part of any English garden
Leigh Clapp

When writing this it is unknown whether we still will be in lockdown with COVID-19 or may be able to go out and visit some of the lovely gardens Surrey has to offer. Either way, we aim to inspire with the visual beauty of roses and show you some ways to add these favourite flowers to your own gardens, with tips from Surrey’s experts. Now is a great time to research the roses you love and will suit your conditions, then order some bare-root plants, the most economical choice, for delivery between November and March as they are traditionally planted in autumn and late winter, to the beginning of spring. With an enormous variety on offer you’re bound to find something suitable for your own garden.

Roses are available for a wide range of gardening situations. Traditionally thought of as best suited to formal gardens, they are one of the most versatile plants for any setting. With their wide spectrum of colours, sizes and growth habits they can be grown in dedicated beds, amongst a jostle of other plants in borders, draped overarches and walls, used as groundcover or varieties selected for containers. Roses derive from around 100 species and there are now thousands of cultivars to choose from, making for enchanting possibilities. In years gone by the most sought-after roses were those that produced one perfect flower on each stem for cut flowers, now the aim of breeders is to produce prolific flowering over a long season with resistance to pests and diseases.

Thinking of roses in three main groups may be helpful. Species of wild roses like to sprawl in a natural style, are mostly single-flowered, and many have colourful hips in autumn, such as rugosa, glauca, moyesii and canina. Roses from before 1860 are known as old garden roses and are characterised by large graceful shrubs with mostly one flowering, are richly fragrant and include alba, gallica, damask, cabbage and moss roses. Modern roses, bred from the early 20th century have characteristics of repeat-flowering and a striving for disease resistance, vigour and flower quality. These cover hybrid teas, floribundas, landscape, climbers, miniature and David Austin English roses.

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June 2020