Nigel's Gardening Hints and Tips: The Happy Birthday Rose

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The Post 10th birthday banner as designed by TavaronA banner for Nigel's Gardening column

Happy 10th Birthday to THE POST!

I would like to present a favourite rose of mine as a tribute to The Post's special birthday.

The name of it, which I feel is very appropriate, is Happy Birthday! .

It is a miniature variety, which means it will be ideal for a container or pot on the balcony or patio. It has varying shades of beautiful double yellow flowers.

I chose this particular rose not just because of the name, but because of the yellow flowers, as yellow signifies joy, happiness and friendship: three of the things that h2g2 brings to a great many different people.

So, why not visit your local garden centre or internet shop and purchase one for your garden. It will brighten up dull days and to look at it when we are feeling down should remind us that h2g2 friends are there to chat or offer support.

The Happy Birthday rose should not grow any more than 60 cm (24 inches) in height and should keep a tidy shape with minimum pruning. Its spread is miniature, too, an approximate size of 45 cm (18 inches) should be the maximum it grows to, again with minimum pruning.

Maintenance will include watering and feeding during summer months, dead heading in the flowering period and pruning of dead or diseased stems in the dormant time. As I am a bit of a perfectionist where gardening is concerned, I like to lightly trim any stems which are unsightly or spoiling the shape of the plant. This makes it look neat and tidy! You can prune it hard back to about 13 cm (five inches) from soil level during the dormant period (after flowering). I personally wouldn’t recommend this as it takes a couple of years to fully grow back.

The main flowering period is July to September but this will probably vary due to the climate change. The flowers have a medium fragrance, which you should be able to smell when you poke your nose by the flower! A Word of Warning: When sniffing the flower, be careful an insect does not go up your nose! It has happened to me before!

When planting your rose you will need a pot approximately 15 cm (six inches) deeper than it is already in and enough space around it to fit the rose in comfortably. You can buy bare-root roses at this time of year which have been basically dug out of the field they have been growing in and bagged up, usually with straw in to protect the roots. These will need potting into a similar sized pot, trimming both the roots and the rose to give it the best possible start (the supplier will be able to advise on this).

There are plenty of pots to choose from. If you live on a fairly windy site then a terracotta one would be ideal as it should stand up better to harsh British weather than a plastic type.

Next is the compost. Multi-Purpose compost can be used but it does not have the weight factor to keep the pot anchored; if it is peat based then it will also dry out quickly. The best type is either a peat-free multi purpose which is heavier than a normal peat based multi purpose, or John Innes No.3 which is loam based. Either one of these will have the nutrient capacity to do without feeding until next summer.

When planting make sure you put broken crocks or stones at the bottom of the pot. This ensures that the water does not drain straight out when watering and should also prevent compost escaping onto your nice clean patio or balcony!

Place a small amount of compost at the bottom and plant leaving an inch of room from the top rim. This should ensure when watering it does not spill over the sides. Also, do not plant any deeper than the graft or first set of stems.

Water well in and stand on pot feet, as this will ensure any water drains away sufficiently. It also helps to prevent cracking of your pot (if terracotta) during frosty weather.

You can also plant miniature roses into the ground. The soil will require organic matter dug in before planting to give it a head start!

When positioning your rose in the ground or when planted in a pot, they like a nice sunny position but usually do quite well in partial shade too.

Miniature roses do not suffer from a lot of black spot unless they are under stress e.g. under or over watered. However, if it does start to suffer then a chemical spray from a local garden centre should help to make it better! I know that many people do not like chemical sprays but black spot is very difficult to get rid of any other way. Follow these useful BBC Rose Black Spot tips . There is also access to advice on any other problems you may get via the home page. However, miniature roses give very few problems if cared for.

There are many other celebration roses which would be a nice thought for your friends or family on special occasions.

I chose the Happy Birthday rose as a special one for The Post's tenth birthday. I will look forward to hearing who has bought one. I’m off to order mine now!

Nigel's Gardening Hints and Tips


7.12.09 Front Page

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