This garden was built in the winter of 2000. Designer Douglas Coltart was inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh's roses for this garden, and the different beds in the garden come together to represent a cross-section through one of Mackintosh's stylised roses.
The garden was originally planted up in early spring 2001 with a selection of bare root roses. Over time the garden has gone through its share of changes, though. During the winter of 2007-08, the central raised bed was re-built, using lower edging and replacing the planing with groundcover Rosa 'Sussex'.
This garden is at its best in June and July, with a later flush of flowers in late summer/early autumn, but not many lasting right up to the frosts. We have a table (with a Mackintosh inspired mosaic table top, created by one of our seasonal gardeners) and chairs in this garden and it's often where the gardeners can be found in summer, having their lunch. Definitely a favourite.
We have tried to illustrate some of the most popular types of roses. The garden has Hybrid Teas in one bed, Floribundas in another, groundcover roses in the centre and the back border has a selection of old fashioned shrub roses. We also have some of the old Burnet roses and a few climbers to add to the mix.
Each category requires different pruning methods and of course some types are more floriferous than others; repeat blooming all summer long. The garden is pretty labour intensive - the roses need to be sprayed every two weeks from bud break until the end of summer and, once they start flowering, it's important to dead head to get as much flower as possible.
Nowadays, with few garden chemicals available to the home gardener, choosing the variety of rose to grow has never been more important. Some roses are bred to have resistance to diseases such as blackspot and mildew. There are also other cultural methods that may help to control pests and diseases so these can be incorporated into a care regime for any rose garden.
Roses like well-drained, good garden soils and they prefer a neutral or even slightly acidic pH. Before planting roses, check what was planted there first, as there is a replant disorder associated with roses. A rose plant can sicken and die if planted in soil where roses have previously been grown. A good mulch of well rotted manure does wonders to rose beds - it nourishes the roses, helps to suppress weeds and helps to keep water in the soil. The only problem is that when you put it on the border, the blackbirds come along and kindly spread it all over the paths.
If you decide to use a spraying regime to maintain your roses in the best of health it's so important to keep to it. Mark spraying days on a calendar and stick to them. In the winter, whilst the plants are dormant, use a winter wash to kill over-wintering pests. This doesn't mean that you should forget about using cultural methods to control disease. Keeping the beds tidy, picking up fallen leaves, and removing diseased leaves from the plant will help to prevent the spread of disease.
For more information on roses, try the following links:
The Royal National Rose Society
David Austin Roses