Top rose tips from Norfolk’s world-class grower

PUBLISHED: 09:26 15 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:26 15 June 2020

Ian Limmer of Attleborough rose specialists Peter Beales Roses. Photo: Denise Bradley

Ian Limmer of Attleborough rose specialists Peter Beales Roses. Photo: Denise Bradley

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Looking for top tips for roses? Who better to go to than Norfolk’s Peter Beales, one of the best growers in the world?

The white rose 'Creme de la Creme'. Photo: Peter Beales RosesThe white rose 'Creme de la Creme'. Photo: Peter Beales Roses

Roses are the quintessential English garden flower, inspiring painters and poets – as well as gardeners. In Norfolk Peter Beales Roses in Attleborough has spent over half a century cultivating a reputation as a world leader in these blooms, winning countless awards including Chelsea Flower Show gold.

Ian Limmer, nursery manager, has been with the company for over 40 years and has some tips and suggestions for readers looking to grow roses in pots or wanting to add a climbing rose to their gardens this summer.

“Most people don’t realise you can successfully grow a vast range of roses in pots. Traditionally people tend to steer towards patio roses; however, you can easily grow lots of shrub, groundcover and climbing roses in pots as long as you follow some key tips,” says Ian.

“Firstly, the size of the pot is crucial, smaller roses should be grown in pots with a minimum diameter of 35cm, with larger growing roses planted in at least 51cm diameter pots. Secondly, always use a soil based compost, add drainage, such as shingle at the bottom of the pot and plant the rose deep enough so the union (the point where the rose is grafted) is below soil level.

A beautiful pink 'Uetersen' rose; Photo: Peter Beales RosesA beautiful pink 'Uetersen' rose; Photo: Peter Beales Roses

“Finally and possibly most importantly, watering and feeding is key to success. Roses are very thirsty plants and need to be watered daily and fed regularly, treat them like hanging baskets and you will be rewarded with an abundance of flowers throughout the summer,” he says.

“If you’re looking for a traditional, compact patio rose, ‘Peachy’ and ‘Lovely Bride’ are a couple of superb varieties. If it’s a more an eye-catching display you’re wanting, consider roses like: ‘Eye of the Tiger’ or ‘For Your Eyes Only’.

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The aptly-named 'Lovely Bride' rose. Photo: Peter Beales RosesThe aptly-named 'Lovely Bride' rose. Photo: Peter Beales Roses

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Ian says that climbing roses can be grown in any size garden as they are one of the most versatile groups available. With so many different variations in bloom type, size and colour, you can easily transform dull or unsightly areas within your garden, as well as making magnificent central displays.

“The majority of climbing roses are also repeat flowering, so you’re guaranteed colour throughout the summer through to early autumn,” adds Ian.

The beautiful display gardens at Peter Beales Roses in Attleborough. Photo: Peter Beales RosesThe beautiful display gardens at Peter Beales Roses in Attleborough. Photo: Peter Beales Roses

With varieties suitable for north walls and growing in pots, you’re also not limited to where you situate the rose, so areas in the garden which you thought might not be suitable could actually be ideal.

“With so many good climbers now available it’s difficult to choose stand out varieties; however, older varieties such as ‘New Dawn’, ‘Ueterson’ and ‘Aloha’ will deliver year upon year; with newer, healthier and robust roses such as ‘Crème de la Crème’ and ‘Pippin’ now superseding some older favourites.”

Ian also says that pruning and training are key to getting the best from your climbers; so as a general rule, first remove the three ‘Ds’ – damaged, diseased and dead wood. Then stagger pruning by splitting the height of the plant into thirds, pruning approximately 30% of each third. Once complete, tie in the new growth as horizontally as possible, as this will encourage flowering shoots to break from the base of the plant, which in turn, will reward you with beautiful flowers right from the bottom to the top of the plant the following year.

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