Gardening / Here come the lovely roses!

Roses are still the world’s favourite flower with many exciting new varieties this year.

WINTER can be an exciting time for gardeners; an opportunity to take out dead shrubs or those that have been struggling for possibly years. 

Cedric Bryant.

Get rid of them now, I say, and give a new plant a chance in life!

Roses are starting to arrive in garden centres with many exciting new varieties and it’s worth remembering to look for strong, two-year old roses. They’re the ones with stems as thick as an adult little finger. Avoid any with stems no thicker than a pencil. 

Supermarket roses may seem cheaper but they are subject to artificial light and air conditioning. It only takes a couple of minus 4C nights and you’ve done your money. Garden centres store roses in the open in the sort of natural conditions as they would experience in a garden.

When planting roses, dig the hole slightly larger so roots don’t have to be bent round in the hole. 

If the ground is heavy going with clay use a liquid ground breaker rather than gypsum. This soaks down and sideways, whereas gypsum stays only in the hole. 

Keep all artificial chemical fertilisers well away from the hole; they can cause severe burning of young, new roots. 

In preparing the soil, use old cow manure or rotted leaves and if planting roses where they were grown before it is vital to remove a barrow load of soil and replace with new soil. Roses are susceptible to a root virus that can stay in the ground for years.

Finally, plant with the roots spread over a slight mound of soil in the bottom of the hole. Lightly compact the soil as the hole is filled and form a bank around the new rose to hold a bucket of water mixed with Maxicrop Certified Organic Seaweed Plant Nutrient; this specifically encourages new root growth.

AND a little more about growing persimmons; there are two types – astringent and non-astringent. 

I’m not keen on the former as it takes until the fruit is squishy soft to eliminate the astringency before being edible.  

Whereas, the non-astringent variety is similar to an apple with its firm flesh. I cut out the hard stalk in the top of the fruit, peel it like an apple and chop it up. I store it in plastic boxes in the freezer for later use.

The non-astringent Persimmon varieties include “Fuyu”or “Jiro”. Both grow into small, rounded trees. The ornamental value of persimmons, with their fabulous autumn colour of both the leaves and bright orange fruit, make them a wonderful addition to any medium-sized garden. These varieties are grown by Victoria’s Fleming’s Nurseries, which supply garden centres throughout Australia.


  • Many herbs can be planted at this time.

    Now’s the time to plant asparagus, rhubarb crowns and herbs.
  • Feed winter veggies with Neutrog “Seamungus”, a certified organic fertiliser of composted seaweed, composted manure, fish and humic acid. The unique properties of seaweed provides the catalyst for providing higher yields.
  • Although spring is best for mulching, I recommend a layer of mulch around tender perennials to reduce frost damage.

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