29 Apr 2017

No rose goblets here

Ardd Fotaneg · Botanic Garden

A shrub rose is often described as being pruned to a goblet shape. Although pruning out dead, diseased and damage material is always a must with any pruning, it doesn’t have to be a goblet. In the Growing the Future Garden I like to do things a bit unconventional.

Unconventional vegetable garden

This time of year the skeleton of the garden is most visible. It is still too early to plant out some of the tender more unusual type of vegetables I like to experiment with such as yacon Smallanthus sonchifolius and chickpeas Cicer arietinum. However the framework of roses which have edible flowers and rose hips are prompting many questions from visitors.

Arching rose branches

I only have two roses in the Growing the Future Garden; Rosa gallica var. officinalis and Rosa acicularis. In late winter I prune out the old branches to the ground. I then select 8-12 of the best of the stems from the previous years growth. I bend these over into arches creating a spider-like frame of branches. By pinning the ends of the branches into the ground you find come the following winter some have rooted. Creating a bonus of lots of new plants to share with friends and neighbours.

Rosa gallica var. officinalis also known as the apothecary’s rose can also be found in the Apothecary’s Garden which is undergoing a major revamp. The renewed garden is themed on systems of the body.

The technique of bending rose stems encourages a profusion of flowers. It can be applied to most roses. Bending and tying in stems to frames or stakes. The system was developed by Jack Vass at Cliveden in the 1930’s and taken to Sissinghurst Castle Garden where it is still used today.

Roses the traditional way

There are a greater variety roses on display in the Double Walled Garden. This winter these were pruned by Bob Burstow. Bob is on a one year placement at the Garden as part of the Professional Gardeners’ Guild Traineeship.

Its a good time to study how the roses have been pruned and trained. The framework is still visible. You can also see how the plants are reacting to the pruning.

You might not see a rose blooming if you visit the garden now. But there are plenty of other spring flowers blooming around the Garden.