October is Roses month where the rewards of your winter pruning, spraying and feeding are now coming into fruition.
By now your roses should be sprouting beautifully. The pruning of the roses was done in late June to mid-July. The plants were given a good winter feed with 2.3.2 or 5.1.5 and the ground was mulched to keep out the worst of the cold winter.
Now in October with your bushes in full, rich new green, lush and healthy growth, everybody anxiously awaits the buds to open.
As the new growth begins to appear in August and September so did those pesky aphids. They seem to have extrasensory perception for the new spring sap as it moves into the dormant winter buds. A good solution for this mini invasion is to use one of the many systemic solutions available. One application to the soil for the roots to absorb will give months of protection against aphids. Here I would recommend Complete or Koinor
Most fungal disease will thrive when your plants stay wet for long periods, so water in the mornings and allow your plants to dry before the evening sets in.
To produce all those beautiful blooms on those long stems and in large numbers requires a fair bit of energy and food. Use an organic fertilizer such as 3.1.5 or 5.1.5 every six weeks, or normal 8:1:5 every 8 weeks through the growing and flowering season. A regular feed will keep your bushes in bud all the way through summer.
What to do with all these flowers? Of course we will want to pick them all for the vase, a large bouquet for that special friend or to fill every room with wonderful fragrance.
Remember, however, that when you cut off the flowering stems you are also removing a large number of the leaves from the plant. These many leaves are needed by the bush to regenerate new stems and buds. This will take a fair bit of time and will need more feeding, extra water and added maintenance. So, when picking stems from the plants, rather than all at once, pick fewer more often and your plant will keep a cycle of fresh blooms into late summer.
The mulch used over the winter months should have broken down sufficiently by now to work back into the soil to improve the organic content. Put on a layer of summer mulch to keep your soil moisture from evaporating on hot days. You will then have the added benefit of being able to cut down on the watering and lessen the chances of fungal diseases.
Roses are a joy and an extremely rewarding plant variety. With little, but regular TLC and maintenance you will have bushes in your garden giving colour, perfume and living gifts throughout all of summer.
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