Saturday, 1 February 2014

Patio roses - twee or terrific ?

Gentle Hermione

I think I have to own up to being a bit of a plant snob. There, I've said it now ! I'm not proud of it but I think I have to confess it. So, for some reason I have always lumped Patio roses with lobelia, bi-colour bedding plants and pink Hydrangeas. I have walked past them in the garden centre, ignoring them totally, heading straight to the giants - the English roses, with their tasteful pastels and evocative names. The Patio roses I did catch out of the corner of my eye, seemed designed for the gift buyer, with names like 'Many Happy Returns' and 'Celebration'. How could they compare with the elegance of 'Jude the Obscure' and 'This Sceptr'd isle' ?

Jude the Obscure

I think it was the word 'Patio' that put me off, as it conjures up, for me, the most depressing bits of suburbia, that weekly washing of the car, the twitching of the net curtains. It somehow wasn't the stuff that dreams are made of, not full of the romance of the Bourbon or the Damask.

So, now I have to eat my words, letter by letter, as I have just spent the last two hours out in the freezing cold, planting seven new Patio roses. The February wind was literally whistling through the trees, and the soil was icy cold.



What changed my mind was my love of a bargain,  about as prosaic as a reason can be. No light bulb moment, no reading learned tomes ! I was mooching about on one of the many garden forums I belong to and a new message caught my attention. Someone posted to say that they had just bought Patio roses reduced from £9.99 each to £2.25. And that was all it took! I went straight to the site and ordered seven bareroot roses without drawing breath !

While I was waiting for them to be delivered I started to read up on the origins of Patio roses, and was surprised by what I found out. Patio roses were given their name from around 1996 and are basically just small roses between 30cm and 90cm in height, although the definition does seem open to interpretation. It includes various types of roses including the Polyanthas, which were mainly developed in the 1900's. The majority have a long flowering season, with some blooming from May through to October. Flowers tend to be small and held in clusters, like Floribundas. Many were bred to cope well in a container. Miniature and dwarf roses are often referred to in recent years as Patio roses too. They come in a huge range of colours, and although they have a scent, it is nothing like as strong as Hybrid Teas or English roses. They are usually tough, compact and disease resistant. Although very suitable for container growing, they are good garden plants, ideal for edging or underplanting larger roses.


When my little band of Patio roses finally arrived, it was raining so I couldn't get them planted, so I unpacked them and put them all in a bucket of water to rehydrate. The next day it rained again, and I was worried about leaving the bare roots in water for too long, so I emptied out the water and covered the roots with damp compost instead. A lazy woman's 'heeling in' if you will !



 I woke today to see the sun streaming in through the window, and knew that this was my little window of opportunity to get planting, before those grey clouds built up again.






After all the rain, the soil was very wet, and I had the dilemma of whether to work it or not. If I had a choice I would have left it alone, but the health of the plants depended on being planted, I felt.



So, now they are all planted - big holes, Rose food, specific compost for roses and then a top layer of soil and a quick water. They are planted at exactly the same level that they were planted at before. I also remembered to write them all a label, which wrapped around a stem, rather than markers stuck in the ground, which are easily lost.

Typically, there was a fatal flaw in my planning. There I was, out in the cold wearing wellies, gloves, coat and scarf, all ready to dig the first hole, when I realised that I hadn't a clue what colour the roses were. Reluctant to go back up to the house, I played a bizarre game, where I tried to guess the colour based on the name. Some were a breeze, 'Cream Dream' - got it in one ! But what colour is 'Teenage Spirit' ? (Usually clear, like Vodka, if my memory of my own teenagers serves me well!) Turns out it is pink - I checked them all out when I got back into the warm. What colour would you guess for 'Well done', (one of the plants I have bypassed so dismissively in the past) ? I guessed red, you know, red rosettes and all that, but, no, turns out it is cream. 'Flower Power', I would have guessed was something bright and vaguely psychedelic, but that is pink. Now, I was reasonably confident that 'Sweet Dreams' would be a cream or a white, as it made me think of crisp sheets, and cloud-like pillows, but, no! Pink again! 'High Sheriff' ... something regal I imagined , like scarlet or deep crimson, but turns out it is a near white. 'Sheer Silk' ? Well, it says very pale pink to me, but it is actually white. My percentage of accuracy was extremely low !


Sadly, I fear that any colour co-ordination there may have been in the borders (and I can assure you that is very little) has now gone out of the window and there may be some very mis-matched neighbours blooming in the summer.






24 comments:

  1. I admire your spirit, planting out in this weather! I hope your colour combos turn out better than you think!

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  2. Hi Rusty Duck - oh so do I !! Least I didn't order any orange ones, they are all creamy or pinky !!

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  3. I've planted several; well, if your "patio roses" are the same as ours...and been pleasantly surprised by both their hardiness and their addition to the garden. And take a chance on the orange ones...in the right place they'll certainly draw your eye!

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  4. Heartened by your comments Professor ! Do you call them 'Patio ' roses in your neck of the woods or do they go by another name ? Apparently they are sometimes called 'Miniature shrub roses' although I must admit to never hearing that term before. The jury is still out on 'orange' !!

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  5. I wouldn't have guessed their colors by the names, either, but I bet it will be a glorious surprise when they all bloom this spring. And what a great bargain you got! I wouldn't have been able to resist, either. And now you make me think that I need some patio roses to put in pots on - well, my patio! ;)

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    1. Have you grown them in pots before Holleygarden ? I know that they are bred to cope well with life in containers but have never tried to grow them in pots before. You will have to report back on your successes!

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  6. Intrepid planting! Love the "guess colour from name" game, though they clearly didn't make it easy for you! I have never really grown roses of any king, let alone patio roses, I will be intrigued to see what they look like - my Aunt, who helps their village regulaarly win awards in the "In Bloom" competition, is a big fan, though she is also very suburban, so not sure what that says about anything. Funny how we develop prejudices. I had one against dahlias for years, just because my Dad was sniffy about them. Can't get enough of them now.

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    1. I used to be prejudiced against Dahlias too! Until I started growing them, now I think,'What's not to like ?' I can't stop buying tubers now, to pot up for early flowers this summer.

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  7. Beautiful roses. Unfortunately, I do not have them in my garden :)
    Greetings

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  8. Are you too far north for rose growing Ela, or do you prefer not to grow them ?

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  9. I have never known about rose food and specific compost for rose. I just know about orchid food, and Aglaonema food here. What is the main composition in the rose food? Are there macro and micro nutrients on it? Thanks for sharing

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    1. Hi Endah. I have only just discovered compost specifically for roses and although I asked when I bought it , what made it different, I was just told that it was designed to suit roses. I assume that means that it is more humus rich. Rose food contains 3 major elements of Nitrogen, potassium and Phosphorus, with other trace elements to aid healthy growth. I also like to use well - rotted horse manure, but have none at the moment. I will put a top dressing on in March.

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  10. It is interesting how certain flowers have come to be associated with a particular look. I've always been OK with patio roses, but I have learned to love hydrangeas and dahlias, too. I don't think patio roses will ever match my love of the larger roses, but they can still look lovely in the right place. I look forward to seeing yours bloom. I hope you discover some unplanned but wonderful colour combinations!

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    1. Hi Wendy . Do you grow patio roses as well as the 'Big Boys' ? I know what you mean, nothing can match that opulent elegance of one of the Old roses. I am looking forward to seeing my little guys flowering , whatever crazy colour combos I have created !!

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  11. If they look good separately they'll look good together. They always say that about something - I forget what. It may be food, and it may be taste, so never mind. I'm sure they'll be fine. I'm glad you got past your disdain for patio roses - they definitely have a place in the garden. Not everything needs to be - or should be - a big star like the larger roses.

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  12. Hi Sarah. Interested to hear that you are a fan of Patio roses. Do you grow them in containers or in the borders ?

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  13. I have grown to value some quite common plants and shrubs. Roses like 'Well Done' and 'Teenage Spirit' do sound less romantic than 'Jude the Obscure' and This Sceptr'd isle', but I have a feeling you will grow to appreciate most of the new, more common patio roses. A long period of bloom is a great advantage.
    I found myself guessing at the colors as I was reading along. Names like 'Well Done' don't give much of a clue, but then neither does This Sceptr'd isle'. I hope the color combinations with other plants work out!

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  14. Hi Jennifer. I think that you are right, I am coming to value length of flowering period above most other things. I had two different bulbs in my hands the other day, deciding which to buy, and made my decision totally based on flowering period. That puts Patio roses way up there !

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  15. Mismatched, but oh so beautiful....I"m for any plant carefree, beautiful, and ahem cheap.

    Jen

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  16. I may have discovered some fantastic new colour combos Jen ! And who can resist ahem cheap !

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  17. I'd never heard of a patio rose but after reading the description, the name fits. I like the idea of not knowing what color they'll be. I like the element of surprise. It keeps life interesting. I think the whole planting will be fabulous. :o)

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  18. Hi Tammy, I wonder what they are called in the US then ? You must have them, so they are presumably called something different. I was reading about 'Knockout' roses yesterday, which I had never heard of, but I believe are very popular with you ? They seem to cause an awful lot of strong feelings and opinions!! Do you have any ?

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  19. Gentle Hermione is a beauty! Can't wait for summer to see these new roses. Meanwhile I hope they will just root and settle in quickly and guessed(colours) correctly :-)

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  20. Hi Stephanie. Thanks for your comments. Yes I hope they are already sticking their little toes into the soil and starting to wake up!

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