Posted: 22/05/2014 at 23:22
I am having problems with roses. In my front garden they are frankly pathetic. They are quite old. They get swarmed with aphids early doors, and do not recover until mid-summer. I gave the aphids a good shower of fairy some time ago, which killed them off, but the roses did not show much enthusiasm, not much new growth and no buds. The aphids are now back, and have been given another good shampooing. I have fed and watered liberally. Next door (literally the other side of the fence) are in bloom, and they do not 'care' for their roses. The front garden may well be, underneath let us say the 3 foot of soil, rubble hard-core etc, from when my parents bought the property 50 years ago, and had it underpinned, I think that it is possible that the soil is 'leached out' (is that a thing?). With that in mind, last month, I dug up one of the roses, and planted it in a huge plastic pot with good compost, manure and topsoil, and put it back in the same hole. It is no better. There is also a magnolia in the same bed which I planted 5 years ago and is disappointing to say the least. I planted it with enormous care, lots of horse, compost etc, and even an irrigation pipe. It did flower quite well this year, but the leaves have always been crinkly, and it has not grown very much since I bought it. Is it possible that a bed can be too well drained? Should I give up on the pathetic old roses? Or on the entire bed?
Also, in the back garden I have some wonderful and very old shrub roses. I prune them severely in autumn, and they seem to 'remember' how big they are, and grow back magnificently to the same size as they were. But! (There is always a 'but') They have wonderful new growth, but the buds seem to take forever to open. The back garden roses seem to be very much less bothered by aphids, and are fed and watered. Can any of you rose experts advise me please?