Roses don't need a lot of water but they do like to be well fed and mulched.
Roses don't need a lot of water but they do like to be well fed and mulched. iStock

Everything can come up roses in right conditions

I used to believe that it was almost impossible to grow healthy roses here without lots of effort and lots of chemicals. The conventional wisdom seemed to be that our humid summers made rose-growing almost impossible.

The truth is, as with most plants, roses are quite easy to grow so long as you provide the right conditions. They need plenty of sun, good drainage and air circulation, and regular feeding. They do need to be pruned, but that's not rocket science. And best of all, roses are very forgiving.

They flower almost year-round here, so they are great value in the garden. There are hundreds of different types, probably thousands of varieties, in a huge range of flower shapes and colours. Many, but not all, are fragrant. There are tall bushes, small bushes, and climbers.

Roses are pretty adaptable, but, like most plants, they prefer well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Make sure you choose an open sunny position with at least six hours of full sun every day. Reduced sunlight will mean reduced flowering. Roses don't need a lot of water but they do like to be well fed and mulched.

Prune to remove any dead or diseased wood. Cut healthy stems by about one third, making the cut a little above an outward facing bud so that the new shoot will not grow inwards and cross over others.

After pruning, feed them with some complete organic fertiliser and top up the mulch. In our climate, a prune in late summer will stimulate an autumn flowering and pruning in late winter will promote flowers for spring and summer.

Most roses make excellent cut flowers too. To get the most out of them in the vase, choose buds that are still quite tight and pick in the cool of the morning.

Cut the stem at the desired length, just above an outward facing bud, and you've done the pruning as well. Remove any foliage that would be sitting below the level of the water in the vase, and replace the water every few days to prolong the life of your flowers.

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