Blue Irises look stunning with Roses

These blue irises were planted in front of this prolific rose bush and the combination is stunning.

The irises are the bearded hybrid variety and they don’t stop blooming. The colour combination is particularly striking too.

If you click the  picture you will be able to see a bigger photo which will give you a much better idea of the impact of the  contrasting colours.

I wrote in a  post some time ago that my irises were being decapitated by birds.  And that has continued for a few years in  succession.

Fortunately, this year there seems to have been no such massacre of my flowers. Read more

Rose Hip Syrup Recipe

Rosehips make great syrupThis time of the year just before pruning time, rose hips are in abundance. So what can we do with them?

I had heard that rose hips are very rich in Vitamin C so I checked and lo and behold there are a number of rose hip syrup recipes that are used and made by those in the know.

How to use Rose Hip Syrup

The syrup can be diluted with water to make a refreshing cold drink. You can also pour the syrup neat onto your breakfast pancakes or waffles for a delicious and health-giving treat.

Some of the rose hip syrup recipes that I’ve seen are rather lengthy and they put me off because I like quick and easy solutions.

So here is a simplified version:

Rose Hip Syrup Recipe

    • Wash and trim about a kilo of rosehips. Pop them into a blender and process till they are a coarse mush. I would process half at a time so as not to overload your blender.
    • Put the rosehip pulp into a covered pot and boil for about 20 minutes. Remove from stove and strain the liquid through a clean muslin cloth.
    •  Add sugar and boil for another 5 minutes. Cool and bottle. Keep in the refrigerator and use as desired.

Some recipes suggest boiling the discarded pulp a second time and repeating the process.  But I would think that the best flavour and goodness would come from the first load.

Let me know how you like it!



Rose Pruning – My Crazy Experiment

Rose pruning timeWith the days getting shorter and autumn just around the corner I am now able to give you the report I promised about the results of my crazy rose pruning experiment.

You may remember that last winter I told you about my rose pruning effort and how I had engaged a professional rose pruner to help me.

The thought of pruning all my roses was a little intimidating at the time – but if truth be told I suspect that I was simply too lazy.

Well, pruning day arrived and the professional pruner brought some tools and some loppers and proceeded to lop off my roses in a most frightening manner.

All I could do was to stand by and watch helplessly – and hope that he knew more about pruning than I did.

I was wrong. I know now that I knew better. Much better. Read more

My Rose Pruning. A Success or Fiasco?

A Pruned RoseI have always pruned my own roses. I like to prune lightly and I always prune to an outside eye.

My roses have grown well and I always buy a few new ones each year so my rose bushes have grown considerably both  in number and in size.

Not surprisingly, when pruning time came around this year, the prospect of pruning them myself was a little daunting.

In the past, I have always spread my rose pruning over a few days – a system that made my job a lot easier. But the downside is that it affects the blooming time if you prune at different times. This year I didn’t want to stagger the pruning as I want to have a big flush of roses in October.

In addition to this, my Mr Lincoln has grown to an enormous height – about 17 -20 feet and the canes are not canes but veritable tree trunks. The thought of pruning this monster was more than a little daunting.

So these are all my reasons for deciding to call in: Read more

When to Prune Roses – A few tips

Pruning tools for rosesIt’s often tricky to decide what is the best time to start pruning your roses.

When to prune roses depends on so many things: the weather, the location, the variety of rose and so on.

But as a rule of thumb,  I generally wait till the end of July until the danger of late frosts is past. During July, you never can be quite sure of the weather.

The problem with pruning too early is that the new growth is very tender and frost can kill off all the baby leaf shoots overnight and that would be a setback for the rose bush, causing die-back and a host of other problems.

Optimally, it’s best to prune just before the roses feel the first growing surge of spring.  As you know, gardening has a lot to do with feeling! Read more

When is the Best Time to Pick Roses?

A Red RoseI have just received a question asking me; “When is the best time to pick roses?” The answer is quite simple. The best time to pick roses is when the roses are at their best.

The worst time to pick roses

Roses, like people go through periods of relaxation and times of stress. Their worst stress is when the sun is beating down on them and they are thirsting for water.

And because they are feeling stressed and miserable they may even be drooping their heads. This is to avoid the direct rays of the sun. Read more

How to Deadhead Roses

Deadheading roses is one of the easiest forms of rose care but gardeners often neglect to do this.  It’s easy to forget to deadhead your roses particularly when the season advances and the roses have been blooming for quite a long time.

As the weather becomes hotter, deadheading seems to be forgotten.  This is a pity because there are several reasons why we should deadhead our roses regularly.

What is deadheading?

Deadheading is what it’s name implies.  It simply means removing the dead rose head from the bush. Some people just pull the spent rose off the bush but this isn’t the best way as it leaves a naked stalk on the plant which tends to die back.

An easy way to deadhead roses

I have found an easy and effective way to deadhead my roses. But I only do this when the roses have been newly watered and the sap has risen well up into the stems.

To deadhead I hold the base of the stalk between the thumb and forefinger of my left hand and then with a quick one-two back and forth movement with my right hand I snap off the rose head neatly together with the short stalk that holds it up. In this way all the leaves are preserved and the rose will soon flower again.

Why should we deadhead roses?

  • Firstly, the rose bushes look much neater when we remove the spent roses from the bush. A rose bush looks tatty when there are fading roses among the buds and full blown flowers.
  • Secondly the rose needs every bit of energy, food and water for its growth and future flowering ability.  A great deal of energy goes into the making of rose hips.  If you allow the spent heads to remain on the bush all the energy is diverted from the growth of your rose bush towards the development of seeds.
  • If you remove spent roses from the bush, the rose is encouraged to flower more frequently by replacing the flowers that you have removed.

How to Plant and Care for your Rose Garden