Friday, March 22

Butterflies and fairytales

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Roses add charm, colour and perfume to any garden, as those at the World Rose Convention understand

International rose lovers are attending the 18th World Rose Convention, hosted by the Danish Rose Society. The convention opened in Copenhagen, Denmark yesterday and runs until Wednesday. The convention is organised by the World Federation of Rose Societies, representing the rose societies of 40 countries.
Rosarians will share their knowledge at lectures and will visit rose gardens including those at the famous Rosenborg Castle and the Fredensborg Palace.

Hans Christian Andersen wrote fairytales that featured the rose and the nightingale, so it is fitting that the nightingale is the convention’s logo, under the theme: A Fairytale of Roses.

World Rose News editor and South African rosarian Sheenagh Harris will present several talks. Harris, a former president of the world federation, also wrote the 2015-2018 Triennial, available on the convention website (

Danes and their monarchs have grown roses for centures, and they feature prominently in many gardens. Some include roses bred by Danish rose breeder Poulsen Roses.

Plant a climbing rose against a trellis to add height interest in your garden. Picture: Supplied

Fairytale roses

What should you plant in your garden this summer? A range of enchanting fairytale roses, bred by Kordes Roses of Germany, are must in any romantic garden.

They are vigorous, disease-resistant shrubs with glossy foliage, and flower freely and continuously.

“Blue Fairy” is a shrub rose with small lavender flowers in clusters. “Brothers Grimm” is a floribunda shrub rose, a melange of orange, yellow and pink. “Clever Gretel” has pointed pink buds that curve outwards and downwards as they open; “Fishpond Pebbles” has clusters of white blooms.

“Pooh Bear” has deep bronze flower clusters on a compact shrub; “Liewe Heksie” is a vigorous rose with unique brown shading. “Sylvie-joy” is a bushy knee-high rose with disease-resistant foliage, apricot-coloured blooms and a fruity fragrance.

Butterfly roses

As charming as fairytale roses and with the simplicity of their single and semi-double blooms, these butterflies of the garden bring a touch of lightness. Bees love them.

Rosa chinensis mutabilis has been in cultivation since 1896 with single flowers on a graceful bush. Pointed orange buds open honey-yellow and apricot, before deepening to carmine.

Two hybrid tea roses with single petals from the 1920s that remain firm favourites are golden-apricot “Mrs Oakley Fisher” with orange stamens, and “Dainty Bess” with silvery-pink petals and maroon stamens.

You may prefer the fiery orange of “Playboy”, or bright pink “Playgirl”. Show-stopping floribunda rose “Eye of the Tiger”, with vigorous growth and healthy foliage, has a crimson eye at the centre of the apricot petals.

“Edgar Degas”, named for the Impressionist painter, has amber-yellow, raspberry and pink-flecked semi-double blooms. A beautiful old climber, “Crépuscule”, will gracefully drape almost thornless stems and loosely petalled apricot-yellow blooms over pergolas.

Shrub rose “Sally Holmes” has clusters of creamy-white flowers on 2m arching canes that can be encouraged over an arch. “Ballerina” is a hybrid musk shrub rose with small single pink blooms with white eyes.

“Altissimo”, with single crimson flowers and golden stamens, shell-pink “Clair Matin”, “Cocktail” with crimson blooms and a golden eye, or “Joseph’s Coat” with trusses of semi-double red blended with yellow blooms will suit graceful arches.

‘Pooh Bear’ is a bronze-apricot Fairytale rose. Picture: Lukas Otto

Growing tips

The secret of successful rose growing is selecting the right rose for the right place. They need rich, composted and well-drained soil, and a position where they receive at least five hours of sunshine a day, preferably morning sun.

Planting en masse using one rose will have greater impact than dotting them randomly. Three, five or seven, depending on the size of the bed, will have greatest effect.

Transplant roses now

Rose expert Ludwig Taschner provides tips for transplanting older roses in June. It is always best to transplant roses during the year’s shorter days when natural leaf drop has occurred.

Bushes that have not shown vigour and flowering in the past season could be transplanted. Cut them down half way, then push the spade in a circle around the bush to cut any spreading roots.

Then lever the spade down and around until you feel the bush can be easily pulled up. Sometimes it is necessary only to replant the bush with extra compost and especially peanut shells mixed into the original soil. Otherwise find a better position. 

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