Top tips for keeping that much loved Christmas plant alive. We've tested a plant sensor and mixed it up with some good old gardening knowledge...
You’ve got to be suspicious of a man who starts his declaration of love with a lie.
Yes, it’s that time of year again when couples who can’t think of anything original to say to each other drag out the old ‘Roses are red’ verse. But it’s simply not true. Whilst there are (at this time of the year, very overpriced) red roses, there are also white, pink yellow… you name it. Roses are one of the largest plant groups available to gardeners. Over 110 varieties have been given the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit! This makes it quite hard to choose varieties for your garden. Start by considering what you are looking for. It’s worth noting that:
- The flowers come in a whole variety of shapes, from an almost flat single flower to the rosette-shaped varieties which have double flowers with overlapping, uneven petals. In general, the flowers should be dead-headed, unless (as in many varieties) the rosehips that follow the flowers are particularly attractive.
- There are three main groups of roses –old garden roses (any rose that existed before 1867, including wild roses) and modern roses, many of which are known by their trademark names rather than their registered cultivars.
- Roses come in a whole variety of different types like groundcover, bushes or climbers and can be grown in containers, over arches, in borders or in hedges. They can be deciduous or semi-evergreen.
Some of our favourites
- Rugosa rose is a rugged shrub that is disease resistant. The flowers tend to be dark pink to white, and the rosehips resemble tomatoes. Leaves typically turn yellow before falling in autumn.
- ‘The fairy’ is a pretty dwarf rose with an abundance of small double pink flowers, which are followed by bright purple rose hips. It needs lots of sunshine but if you treat it well it will grow to about a metre in height.
- The Sunstar is another drought resistant rose that has light yellow flowers with a mild fragrance. The plant blooms in flushes throughout the season, maintaining the colour in your garden.
- Rambling rose Kiftsgate is a great option for climbing into trees. The creamy white flowers are slightly fragrant and the plant can grow to a height of up to 10m.
- Rosa primula or the Incense Rose has pale, small yellow flowers and shiny aromatic ornamental leaves. The plant grows up to around 1.8m.
Since men who garden are supposedly better in bed, here’s our suggested response to anyone who uses the old verse this Valentine’s Day:
Roses aren’t red,
They can be many hues
Any gardener would know that.
You didn’t; we’re through.