Posted: 10/11/2013 at 12:26
Biz Liz... our Village Hortisoc. had an excellent talk/hands on demo on Rose growing from Stewart Pocock of Pocock's Roses ( a local grower who has won Golds at the big RHS shows) who clearly knows his stuff. Re disease resistance he said that it made sense to buy the newest varieties, because the pathogens mutate over time ( just like the flu virus) and eventually, say after 12-15 years, a previously resistant rose will start to succumb to disease.
His second lesson for me, watching him prune some roses. is to be very, very, ruthless. Don't be frightened to really hit the rose hard. There are lots of dormant buds, even if you can't see them. He said that loads of damage had been done by various TV gardeners, for example, advising you to always cut to an outside facing bud ( that one dies back, so the next one faces inward anyway) . He cut his very hard and low, leaving a few strong stems.