I prefer to plant bare root roses. They seem to get established much more quickly than potted specimens – and flower in their first year. We selected one example of five varieties, each of which has the characteristics we were looking for, as described in my previous gardening blog. We were aware that we were in for quite a long wait for delivery, but knew that it would be worth it when the plants are in full bloom next year.
The first thing to do was to take them out of the parcel and place them in a bucket of water.
I decided on a ‘W’ formation for the planting scheme for our new rose bed.
The hole for each rose needs to be around sixteen inches deep and sixteen inches wide, to facilitate good drainage and penetration of feed into the soil. Depending on soil conditions, digging such a sizeable hole can be quite arduous, but loosening the soil and ensuring the roots start at an optimum depth will be well worth the effort.
To give the plants an early boost, I add well-rotted farmyard manure around the base of the planting hole.
Light pruning of the roots encourages them to grow more vigorously.
Mycorrhizal fungi are interesting. They develop a symbiotic relationship with many plants; and roses can derive great benefit from them, as the fungi supply them with water and mineral nutrients such as phosphorus. The relationship is good for the fungi too, as they receive organic molecules such as sugars, produced by the plant’s photosynthesis function.
Mycorrhizas are available to gardeners in packets. I scatter the fungus on the roots of the roses and also around the base of the planting hole.
I make a small mound in the middle of the planting hole and arrange the roots around it. Then it’s time to begin filling in the hole and firming the soil to ensure the plant will be in good contact with it.
Once the hole has been filled, I add some more well-rotted manure and give the plant a good watering.
I blanketed the whole bed with quite a lot of bark chippings to provide a mulch to help retain water and also suppress weeds.
At the time of writing, we’re finishing off the rose bed with some low level willow fencing, prior to surrounding it with a single course of brick to separate the bark mulch from decorative gravel in the vegetable patch, which we’re still working on.