Roses are still among the nation’s favourite flowers with gardeners spending many hours devoted to keeping them looking as good as possible for as long as possible.
Roses are available in many growing forms – dwarf growers for use in patio pots, medium growers for use in flower beds as tidy bushes, or tall varieties for rambling and climbing up fences, walls and sheds.
Most gardens open to the public will show you how it’s done, with large beds of one variety, walls covered in climbers and ramblers or individual specimens making their mark in herbaceous borders or twined around arbours.
But, sadly, all varieties of roses are susceptible to attack by aphids. These greenfly or plant lice suck away plant sap and seem to multiply before your very eyes.
To kill off this aphid colony effectively and protect the plant from future attack it’s best to use a systemic insecticide that not only knocks out existing pests, but also gives long-lasting protection for several weeks.
At this time of the year you may also notice signs of powdery mildew affecting roses and other plants such as hollyhocks, asters and fuchsias, especially if the soil is dry. For decent disease control on decorative plants, use fungicide which gets inside the plant to fight existing infections and protects new growth for several weeks. And if things get really bad and you’re unfortunate enough to have both pest and disease infestations on your roses or decorative plants, you can find ready-mixed combinations of insecticide and fungicide that do the two jobs in one spray.
Probably the best known is RoseClear Ultra Gun, which, as the name suggests, comes as a hand sprayer that allows quick and effective treatment of the major rose problems in one ready-mixed spray.
It’s easy to carry around the garden to zap early sightings of pests and diseases, so they don’t have the opportunity to get established. But whatever problems you have with roses, and whatever treatment you choose (even if it’s just using soapy water to hose off the aphids), do it as soon as you spot signs of trouble – early treatment is the best treatment, and roses deserve the best.