London (change)
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16/11/2013 at 20:08

I've been buying a few roses over the last year or so. I have Charles de Mills, which I love but the growth seems weak and the flowers heavy. Flowers end up in the mud.

Is this how they usually grow? New growth is already about a metre tall and not looking sturdy enough to support the flowers. Should I cut it back or is it the sort that will flower next year on this year's wood? It gets a fair bit of sun but not full sun

Thanks in anticipation

16/11/2013 at 20:34

I have had a similar experience with the variety "Wisley". I think that frankly it should never have been released onto the market and is an example of the growers and, in this case the RHS, putting profit before good practice.

If I were you I would hit it very hard to try to stimulate stronger growth for next year. You don't have a lot to lose.

16/11/2013 at 20:40

That's true,  I'll give it a pruning. Thanks WW

17/11/2013 at 08:50

I've found that this is a common problem with the David Austin 'Old Roses' - I think that their habit owes a lot to the genes they've inherited from the English shrub roses which are more like ramblers.  Xa Tollemache has an amazing rose garden at Helmingham Hall and has 'invented' a form of support for her shrub-type roses 

However, these are very expensive.  I'm using whatever I can to support my David Austin Old Roses until they build up a large enough framework to support themselves in a sort of mound.  

17/11/2013 at 08:58

Thank you Dove, I will look closely. 

17/11/2013 at 09:22

I'm trying to resist any pruning other than at the tip, to give the branches a chance to flop over and form the basis of a mound - if you get my meaning. 

Nut, I hope you don't mind me singing the praises of the gardens at Helmingham Hall on this thread - it is a fantastic place.  I grew up just a short cycle ride away.  The walled veg garden was the inspiration for the one at Highgrove - I've not been for a couple of years due to lack of time but it's an absolute must for next year - the tea shop is highly recommended - I'd be happy to meet up with a Forker or three if anyone wants a gardening escapade next year. 

17/11/2013 at 09:32

Looks good to me Dove. I'm in favour of a meet-up.

I'd love to live near a garden like that. 

17/11/2013 at 09:35

Good-oh!!!  Shall we put it in the diary for June when the roses are out? 

17/11/2013 at 09:53

Yes, we'll do that.

17/11/2013 at 11:35

There's an alternative to expensive or unsightly supports if your shrub roses are producing long, leggy stems you can peg them.   This simply means placing a peg in the ground and tieing the ends of the stems to it so you get a curved shape.   Do this in late autumn so the stems don't get blown around and broken by the winds.

Come the spring, it's a bit like having trained a climber.  Lots of new, shorter stems are produced from the main stems and these flower more readily as the nutrients pass more easily along a horizintal stem than a vertical one.

I did it on my Sceptr'd Isle roses a few years ago and it was amazing.   Since then I've pruned them back hard to get in and deal with a mares' tail problem but they're ready for pegging again for next year's display.  They can be underplanted with spring bulbs to extend the season of interest and will flower, in my experience, from late May or early June through to early December depending on weather conditions.

17/11/2013 at 11:42

Great idea Obelixx 

17/11/2013 at 11:58

hi Nutcutlet - Charles de Milles - where to start?/  I have it at the back of the border and it has always been a straggly shooted rose, but as you say, lovely heavy blooms. Mine grows several shoots rom the base annually....and spreads by long underground stems in all directions.  It is almost a weed here as I have to watch in the spring and sever ansd yank out all the new plants coming up around the original.  My thoughts are to leave it be - let it tumble and spread within reason - see it as a cottage garden rose.  It is unkillable.

17/11/2013 at 12:21

I like the pegging idea Obelixx, thank you.

Glad to know it's unkillable gg, my record with roses isn't good. 

I'm not looking for neat.  Cottage garden, wilderness, natural, are all descriptions of my patch. But next year It would be nice to see the flowers.

17/11/2013 at 14:14

Hopefully pegging would encourage the formation of flowering side shoots too, as when we train our climbing roses horizontally - sounds good. 

17/11/2013 at 16:56

I've noticed that some of my heavier bloomed roses were a bit weak stemed in the first season, Alan Titchmarsh in particular. This year however the stems are much stronger

17/11/2013 at 17:02

That's interesting izzy, perhaps Charles will beef up in time. 

17/11/2013 at 17:08

Aside from discussing the problems we may have with our roses does everyone agree that this year has been one of the best for quality and quantity of blooms. I am not sure of the reason, but this has been the best year ever for me....

I did ask Stewart Pocock why this might be and he said that roses had had a very long dormant season in which to rest and build up their reserves. Unlikely then that next year will be as good?

17/11/2013 at 17:17

I don't think Charles will ever have thick stems - its a thickety kind of rose.  I'll be interested to hear how it performs if you try the pegging idea though.  It's a very old variety.

17/11/2013 at 17:19

It will either be the pegging gg which I like a lot, or OH will have to get out the welder and build one of his creations for it to grow over

17/11/2013 at 18:24

Aha Nut, you (or rather your OH ) could undercut Xa Tollemache - the thing is there are no images online - you have to go and have a look - she's not daft, she knows some lucky gardeners have tame welders 

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