Summer in the garden is all about doing as little as possible; it is a time to enjoy the roses and soak up the sun and summer breeze whilst thinking of all that needs to be done- watering, weeding and deadheading. Only a few gardeners can sit idle when deadheading needs doing, and most are more inclined to be found lavishing attention on their roses than on themselves.
Once the garden starts to fade in mid-summer, and the colours look bleached from heat and ragged after summer storms, doing a few quick snips off the top of each rose bush will give them a chance to revive and build new blooms so you’ll have beautiful new roses very soon.
All modern roses ( roses bred since 1867) will flower on and on until winter if the spent rose blooms are cut back, snipped off or as the experts say dead-headed. This is not the case with Heritage Roses, though, and they will only bloom once per season in Spring.
Golden Beauty Rose Sydney Palace Rose Garden
Picking rose blooms is another quick way to ensure roses continue to bloom. So, the sooner the snipping back or picking starts, the quicker new roses can form and flower. Roses will continue to flower if you stop the seeds (rose-hips) from forming because the energy within the rose will be spent on making new blooms rather than seeds. Like all good multi-taskers, I’ve discovered that deadheading and watering can be done simultaneously without getting too deeply involved in work mode.
Whilst I’ve been away over Christmas and New Year, I had someone attend to the garden, and they did an excellent job of dead-heading and weeding. It was fantastic to come home and not need to remove millions of spent rose blooms straight away. The garden is quite bare of roses, though, and the lush green of the foliage, trees and other shrubs is a welcome sight to the heat of summer days. The buds are forming, and the roses should be back out in bloom in a few short weeks.
The time it takes for roses to rebloom will vary depending on the variety, and I’ve noticed that the Kardinal rose, Knockout roses and Floribundas are the quickest to return. Roses with loads of petals will take longer to rebloom than single or roses with just a few petals, but generally, the turnaround is 3 to 4 weeks.
Dead-heading is easy to do at any time and gets you up close and personal with the roses to see what’s going on; plus, it helps give shape to the older rose bushes instead of waiting for the winter prune. Simply cut the spent blooms off with secateurs or scissors down to the next lot of visible healthy leaves from the spent flower, which will trick the rose bush into more flowering to produce seeds for the next generation. The summer prune will boost the Autumn season, and the roses should continue until the onset of cooler weather. Once the weather is cold, it is best to stop dead-heading so the roses can go dormant.
When I recently visited the Palace Rose Garden and Pavilion in Sydney’s Botanical gardens, I was shocked to see no signs of roses having been deadheaded. I wondered if it was due to a new approach for a more naturalistic garden style or an oversight. There were good specimens of Peter Frankenfeld, Soul Sister, Parole and Golden Beauty. Still, it was surprising, given the Palace Rose Garden is a popular event space within the Botanic Gardens for Weddings on the adjacent lawn with the roses as the key backdrop. Perhaps they wait until all the blooms are spent to dead-head, whereas home gardeners snip away regularly, keeping only the buds and current blooms on the shrubs.
Soul Sister Roses Palace Rose Gardens Sydney
Today brings the welcome sound of rainfall, giving me a reprieve from watering duties. Nature has been kind, allowing a gentle return to the garden with only 30-36 degrees on most days, but generally, summer is 37-39 degrees, so watering is a constant, especially for the potted plants that dry quickly in the heat of summer. Roses must be well watered, and the more mature roses need 20-30 litres of water per week when temperatures climb and 30-40 litres per week when temperatures go as high as 40 degrees. I do a section every few days, so they get a good soaking every week, which is better than quick waterings more often.
In the absence of roses to photograph and share from my own garden, these are some highlights taken on the recent visit to the Christchurch Botanical Gardens. Apart from the beautiful roses, the outer perimeter of the Rose Garden is surrounded by a spectacular wide garden bed with a stunning collection of Dahlias in various shapes and colours.
In the wooded areas along small paths, nooks and crannies were beautiful mounds of lush, colourful hydrangeas in different colours. These beauties were like beacons in the lush greenery, and I was at once envious of the ability to grow them because, in my region, it is far too hot, and they get burnt by the sun, unfortunately.
Hydrangeas In Christchurch Botanic Gardens
What’s next is to fertilise all the roses in February, and in a few short weeks, if all goes well, I will share with you some highlights of Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart Botanical Gardens as I plan on visiting over the next month.
All content Di Baker 2023
Images Di Baker 2023