Roses galore in our gardens

Round & About

Gardening expert Cathie Welch talks all things roses to mark Rose Awareness Week, June 19-25

As it’s rose awareness week I’ve been asked to write about roses. Well these are a plant that did not faulter in the heat or the cold, in fact they have thrived. There are many types of roses and it’s my job to educate and inspire so here goes…

Anyone who knows me will be aware that Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ named after the iconic garden designer is my favourite for scent, colour and sheer beauty! It comes from David Austin roses and can be a bush rose or a climber. I also adore ‘Munstead Wood’ for fragrance but this one is sadly no longer available. Instead opt for ‘Gabriel Oak’ or ‘Desdemona’ among others. These are all traditional or old fashioned rose types.

Roses for cutting need longer stems and a fabulous one is ‘Queen Elizabeth’ (pink) and ‘Alexander’ (orange). For a classic red rose choose ‘Fragrant Cloud’ one of many hybrid teas. These are all modern roses and there are many suppliers of these in garden centres and nurseries as well as online retailers. Plant fairs abound throughout summer and there is no better feeling than a car full of scented roses! There are also wild roses and single roses which are more bee friendly and even ground cover roses and those for the smallest patio. They really are a delight and worth their high maintenance reputation.


Roses are very hungry plants and need rich soil. They love a clay soil enriched with well rotted manure in full sun. Many of them are grafted onto rootstocks of wild roses so occasionally you get suckers which need to be cut off at ground level. Regular feeding is important in the form of compost and a high potash rose fertiliser. Ash from the woodburner is a traditional favourite. Pests and diseases can be a problem depending on variety but regular checking can catch them early. Try to be as organic as possible when selecting sprays. Dead head regularly after flowering to encourage more blooms.


This is what sends everyone into a panic as it’s all dependant on the type of rose you are growing. Bush roses are usually Hybrid tea or floribuda so they have single large blooms or clusters. Hybrid teas are generally cut harder. Climbing roses are pruned similarly but usually spur pruned onto a framework during the winter months. Ramblers that flower once are pruned after flowering in the summer, taking out flowered shoots and tying in the new ones. Shrub roses often have hips and don’t need such drastic pruning, if they can be left then occasional renovation can work. Don’t be tempted to trim with hedgecutters unless a hedge!

CGS Courses

Please ask for details as I am running pruning courses throughout Spring and Autumn. Each plant has a different requirement and learning about pruning techniques is addictive! I can also come and teach you in your own garden.

Consultancy gift vouchers available too.

Website: Cathie’s Gardening School