Friday, 12 June 2015

renovating a rose bush

Three years ago this rose bush was just a small green twig among a sea of brambles and grass, and hidden under and overhanging apple tree. 

At that time, the rose bush did not do much at all, and it seemed to be on the way out. At first I considered digging it up and replacing it with a new one. However, the border is very hot and dry, and roses bushes take many years to establish a good root system. It seemed better to have a go at bringing this rose bush back. My hope was that its years of root system development would very rapidly enable it to regenerate a strong top growth, if only it could be given a chance. 

First the apple tree above was cut back, and weed suppressing membrane was put round the rose. The brambles are still in position but are gradually being weakened as I repeatedly cut the top growth off. An initial feed of chicken manure was given in the first year and then weekly feeding with tomorite in the following year. The next year I gave a one-off feed with rose fertilizer. This year I have not started feeding the bush yet, but it seems to be doing fine. 

Here is the rose bush seen from a distance, above a sea of Osteospermum jucundum var. compactum. These plants do extremely well in a dry hot border as they have adventitious roots along the length of every stem, which gives them the very best chance of drawing up enough water to counteract the constant drying of the hot sun.

The rose bush is a real splash of colour now and flowers very freely, with no effort at all from me. I'm glad to have given it the benefit of the doubt. Its many years of establishment in this spot have given it a huge advantage in the hot dry ground and it really shows its mettle now - with a huge display of flowers each summer. If you ever find a similar rose bush that just seems like a twig, then I think it's well worth having a go at pepping it up a bit.