Our Head Gardener, Steve Parnham, writes about the extraordinary summer here at David Austin Roses and what autumn has in store..
In the greenhouses it became so hot in the middle of the day that our breeding team had to start their days at 6am, finishing at 2.30pm to enable them to cope with the high temperatures.
As we wind down from our busy summer, one of our tasks is digging out some varieties in the rose gardens. This is to make room for the new varieties being launched and to replace roses that may not be growing so well. In total we normally change about 100 plants, digging out the soil with a digger and replacing it with about 200 tonnes of fresh new soil.
There is also the general ‘housekeeping’, such as dead-heading and spraying where needed and cutting all 2,563m of the hedges. This year, we’re also adding 1,571m of steel edging to the gardens. This will keep the edges of the pathways looking smart and tidy, as well as making them easier to maintain in the years to come.
As October approaches, we are beginning to prepare the bare root stock for the season, lifting each rose from the field, stripping it and cutting it ready to be sold. Meanwhile, in a secure area, secretive preparations begin for the Chelsea Flower Show to ensure the roses selected for our show garden are ready and in bloom for when the show opens in May.
In November and December, let them go into dormancy as they wind down for the winter. In January, February it is time to prepare your roses for the year ahead.
By following these simple steps, you will ensure your bare root shrub rose gets off to the best possible start.
By following these simple steps, you will ensure your bare root climbing rose gets off to the best possible start.