Gardening For Valentine’s Day

Gardening for Valentine's day

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Want to make a lasting impression this Valentine’s Day? Plant a bush that keeps on giving, advises Sara Newnham.

Roses have been a symbol of love throughout the ages and are always greeted with much affection when received any time of the year. Especially on Valentine’s Day (take note, fellas!), so why not give a loved one a gift that keeps giving and plant a beautiful rose?
Roses grow fantastically in the 2508 area and can be planted any time of the year. Don’t be fooled by any misconceptions that roses are hard to grow – just follow these few easy steps and you will have bunches of fragrant blooms.

How to grow roses

How to grow roses

  • Step 1: Position! Position! Position! Roses thrive in an open sunny position; they do wonderfully in a large pot or in the ground.
  • Step 2: Good soil. Roses love free-draining soil rich in organic matter. When planting in the ground, be sure to prepare the area by cultivating it with composted cow manure and/or garden mix.  Water in well before planting.  If using compost or worm castings and other manure it’s advisable to mix with your existing soil and allow to sit for up to two weeks before planting. Water regularly. When planting in a pot, buy premium or rose potting mix and go easy on manures as they can burn the roots easily.
  • Step 3: Plant the rosebush in a hole roughly twice the size of the pot you bought it in. Gently take the plant out of the plastic pot. Make a mound of soil in the hole so as to have the finished soil level the same as it was in the pot. Backfill around the plant, pat soil around the roots so the plant is sturdy, and water it well.
  • Step 4: Mulch is very beneficial as it breaks down to improve soil as well as retain moisture. It keeps roots cool and prevents weeds. I use sugar cane or lucerne, but any mulch is fine.
  • Step 5: Fertilise your roses, they are big feeders. The key to abundant flowers is feeding. You need to do this regularly depending on what product you buy – always read the label and follow the instructions. I have over the years found Sudden Impact or Betta Bloom for roses work well over the warmer months and Seamungus or organic all-purpose pellets in the cooler months. I also spot-feed my rose with diluted worm farm juice or Seasol and mulch with composted cow manure and potash in
    early spring.
  • Step 6: Prune when a flower dies. Get rid of it to make way for new ones by cutting back to just above the growth point or bud. This is known as deadheading and is beneficial for all plants. Roses must be well pruned in the cooler months by up to 60 per cent – best to do this before the frost sets in. Swanes website ( has great tutorials. Pruning is easy and very beneficial. When in the garden, remember to always wear protective gear such as gloves, closed shoes, long sleeves, trousers, a hat and glasses. Use clean, sharp tools right for the job.

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