ROSE CALENDAR – Part 1

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In setting out a year’s programme for work in the rose garden, it must be borne in mind that, firstly, most amateur growers have a daily calling that limits the time available for gar­dening; secondly, weather conditions govern our activities; and thirdly, rose-growing should be a pleasure and not a burden. The work must be fairly evenly distributed week by week.

It is not easy, with the mild climatic conditions of Australia and New Zealand, to choose a time at which one can say the rose year begins. One thing of which we can be certain is that New Year’s Day is not the appropriate date. Most of our autumn blooms have finished by 30th April, but the plants are far from dormant; they are still fully clothed with foliage. However, this seems to be the best time to commence work for the new year. The dates given are for cool climates, such as Melbourne. Adjustments must be made for warmer or colder areas.

1st to 15th May. Never leave it later than this period to dig out and burn all the plants you have decided to discard. Remove some soil, leave the hole open, and obtain and store some virgin soil. There will still be a few blooms to gather.

Plant cuttings. Planting should be done in tropical areas.

15th to 31st May. Apply a little lime every few years if tests show soil to be very acid. Preparation of new beds or rejuvena­tion of old beds should be done before the end of this time. Only winter-blooming roses will still be producing flowers, except in the warm areas such as Perth, Geraldton, Brisbane, and Townsville.

1st to 15th June. This period has been the most popular planting time in most parts of Australia and New Zealand, but is fast becoming less popular than July. Dead, sickly, spent, and twiggy growths can be cleaned out of all plants, leaving less work for the busier time to come. Check over gloves, secateurs, and saw. Have stakes on hand.

15th to 30th June. In a big garden, where labour is not avail­able in abundance, planting and pruning may be commenced.

1st to 20th July. The best time for both planting and pruning. Immediately after the pruning do any winter spray­ing that is planned. Promptness is particularly important if tar distillate is used. Clean up all old leaves and remove weeds. Turn over surface soil to a depth of three or four inches. Keep new plants damp. Earlier pruning in warm climates will give earlier spring blooms and so possibly miss thrips invasion.

20th July to 15th August. Check all ties on standards and climbers. Spread compost, animal manure, or artificial fertilizers.

15th to 31st August. The growth-buds are breaking into leaf. Aphides are appearing and must be attacked early. E605, Systox, Lindane, or DDT in white oil or wax should be applied. Perth, Brisbane, and Townsville will have rose blooms to cut.