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Four reasons why you need to plant a rose in April or May

1: You won't need rose-tinted spectacles in the first month of summer

In springtime, it’s gratifying to bask in the colours of the growing season and there’s a vibrancy which is much-needed after what seems like a long winter. But this can often disappear by June. good gardeners are masters at planning ahead, and now’s the time to plug the June gap! Why? Because April and May are full of vitality, with blooms coming thick and fast. Crocuses, daffodils, grape hyacinths, tulips, alpines such as Aubrieta, spring blossom on trees, Camellias, Forsythia and other spring flowering shrubs are packing a punch that has amazing vitality. But afterwards, the energy gradually slows and can dwindle away to almost nothing. Unless you plan to change this sorry state of affairs! Now is the perfect time to plan for a patch of paradise instead and plant a rose or two.

Orange rose flowering in the garden Roses are already growing and trying to form those luscious buds that will burst open in June
2: Create a rosy glow, it's good for you and good for wildlife too

There’s a particular species that epitomises the glorious month of June. It’s England’s national flower – the rose.  From May, rosebuds swell, full of promise, before bursting into extravagant June colour and releasing a heady, intoxicating scent into the bargain. The flowers bring so many benefits to a garden - so don't delay -  plant a rose!

bee on a pink rose Bees love roses, and so do many people too.

They are not only good for our senses, but for insects too.  Roses are a favourite source of nectar for bees, hover flies and other beneficial bugs.

3: embrace the Historical connection

Our love affair with the rose can be traced back to the 15th century after the famous Wars of the Roses. The civil wars that tore England apart in a bid for the throne involved the royal house of Lancaster, which had an emblem of a red rose, and the royal house of York, which displayed a white rose. The eventual combination of both resulted in the familiar Tudor rose which became the floral heraldic emblem of England.

The tudor rose was adopted as a badge by Henry VII The iconic Tudor rose has five petals and combines both red and white

During the 18th century, roses from around the world found their way to England. Each was greeted with amazement and desire for more. There are now more than 35,000 varieties of roses worldwide. This is a bloom that is mainly  native to Asia, but it can flourish almost all over the globe.

a red and white rose, shown off against green foliage Roses are hugely diverse in colour and scent, even the flowers can vary in shape and style.
4: The perfect gift, but What’s in a colour?

The large flowers are the main appeal, and, as we all know, they look amazing in a vase as well as on the plant. In fact, roses are the most popular cut flower and certain colours have been attributed meaning.

red rose against a black background The red rose is a traditional symbol of love
  • The traditional red rose is one of the most well-known symbols of love. Red lips, hot passion and romance can all be represented by rich red roses!
  • Dark pink roses are often chosen to display gratitude and thanks.
  • Pale pink is symbolic of gracefulness and charm.
  • Yellow roses represent happiness and good cheer, so might be chosen as a gift for someone who is unwell.
  • White roses suggest purity and are a popular choice for weddings, but also funerals because they represent new beginnings.
  • Orange roses convey enthusiasm and excitement and these are often chosen for a good luck gift.
  • Peach roses are elegant and modest, perfect for a gift of thanks for someone who is charming.
Yellow rose against a black background Yellow roses represent happiness and good cheer

There are now many 'special occasion' roses that have been named specifically as a celebration of an event. So a rose bush is a great way to give a gift that grows.

Rose care

There are shrub, or bush roses, climbers, ramblers and patio roses in addition to miniature versions. Then there are flowers that appear as hybrid tea – i.e. one bloom to a stem, or floribunda which appear in clusters. All of them require a certain amount of care.

pink floribunda roses Floribunda roses have a cluster of flowers rather than a single bloom to each stem.

The traditional, formal rose bed has a severe drawback: it enables disease to spread between bushes very quickly. Roses can suffer from problems including rusty leaves, black spot, mildew, root rot, aphids and more.

Many people resort to spraying, but those keen on maintaining in a more organic fashion might need to be more vigilant. Removing diseased foliage before it fully develops is good practice.  Encouraging birds to feed nearby is a good way to control aphids. Roses also need to be pruned twice a year and you should bear in mind that the spiny thorns have no respect for blemish-free skin.

pink rose bushes When roses are planted next to each other, they can easily spread disease.
New varieties and planting schemes can sometimes be better (but not always)

Some varieties have been bred for their robust nature and resistance to disease, and they can be used to blend into planting schemes with ease. There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t incorporate this plant into borders and mixed beds, and this is normally where the best results are enjoyed.

Not everyone loves this ‘favourite flower’. The late Christopher Lloyd of Great Dixter, for example,  rather than deciding to plant a rose, preferred to remove all roses from his famous garden in 1997, calling the rose a ‘miserable and unsatisfactory shrub of stick-like thorny blobs’. This was in spite of the fact that the Great Dixter geometric rose garden had been designed by Lutyens back in 1912.

great dixter house and garden Great Dixter shows how plants can be used to create a seemingly jumbled palette of flowers that work in complete harmony

The majority of us will be eager to plant now for summer colour. Roses appreciate fertile, free-draining soil, a fair amount of water and a mulch in order to prevent drying out. They will reward with exotic blooms and hopefully some heady perfume, depending on the variety.

the chocolate rose This rose is named 'Hot Chocolate' because of its unusual colour.

You don’t need rose-tinted spectacles to enjoy the many delights that roses bring to a garden, so step out this month and plant some!