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Growing Tips

Receiving the Roses

When your plants arrive it is best to give them a good soaking in a bucket or tub of water for 24 hours or so. They will be packed in damp newsprint and should travel well, but if they have been delayed in the post, some first aid may be necessary. Cut plants back to outward-facing buds before planting.

Ground Preparation

Your rose will need to be planted in well-prepared ground. Preparation should be done in advance by deep digging and by working-in some well rotted organic matter. Should this not be possible before the roses arrive, heel them in to a spare bit of ground until their permanent home is ready.

Rose bushes should not be planted where other roses have been growing. Should no alternative site be available you must change the soil, giving each plant at least half a barrow of fresh material, swapping it, for example, with soil from the vegetable garden.


Each hole should be at least a full spade depth and wide enough to allow the roots to spread out evenly. Place the roots on a low mound of worked-up soil at the bottom of the hole and fill, holding the plant steady so that it remains upright. The depth should be deep enough to allow the graft - the base of the top branching part of the plant - to lie just above surface level. It is important to tread the plant in well as the soil is replaced and to water well. This will help to settle the soil round the roots and get rid of harmful air pockets.


Keep plants well watered during the growing season, and if possible apply a mulch of clean compost or fine bark chips. Composted bark chips now available are excellent for roses. Light surface hoeing to remove weeds is advised where necessary.

Spraying and Manuring

A regular spray programme through the growing season will be necessary and there are many good fungicide-pesticide preparations on the market. It is wise to vary the preparation used from time to time. Pests and diseases tend to become resistant to a chemical, too regularly used.

A well-balanced fertiliser mix, broadcast around the plants once they are growing well is advised, 2 dressings in spring, and again before autumn flowering.


Modern roses can take harder pruning than the older types.

For the Old Garden Varieties, all that is necessary in the main is the shortening back of long, vigorous canes by approximately one third, and the removal of old, dead and dying wood, and central weak spindly growth. If in doubt, seek advice. There are many excellent books now available on the cultivation of old roses . The Rose Society runs annual pruning demonstrations.

Size of Plants and Quality ...

With old roses, the size of plants is relative to variety and not to any standards applying to modern roses. Many types of old roses will make only slight growth in the first year after budding and these include the Chinas, Teas, older Hybrid Teas and Hybrid Perpetuals. Though small-sized plants will grow into fine large bushes in their second or third year, initially they may compare unfavourably with the more robust older roses and modern varieties which are capable of making big bushes just months after bud-shoot. Parcels of roses sent out as bare rooted plants usually contain bushes varying in size.

Purchasers should be aware that the smaller plants are of first quality for their variety and will soon catch up with their larger relatives. We feel we need make no apology for the size and quality of our stock, and buyers will always receive strong, healthy plants, whatever the size.

. . . and Scarcity

Some old roses defy even our best efforts to raise them. We are sorry about this. It is disheartening to bud, say, 100 rootstocks with some particularly wanted rose only to finish up with, sometimes, less than 5 plants. Since this involves considerable time and wasted stocks, we wonder if it would be best to drop the difficult ones. We have, however, decided to persist; but regretfully, prices have increased to cover the extra time and plant material required. This reflects the difficulty of their propagation. Early orders will still be necessary to secure the varieties in short supply.

Container Grown Roses

Roses bought as bagged-up plants in full growth are at risk of drying out, even after planting. They must be watered daily for several weeks until roots have become established in the surrounding soil. Do not disturb roots when planting. Container roses cost more to produce and the price is slightly more than for barerooted plants.

Mail Order Roses – Packing Methods

Roses can be sent by post/courier to any part of New Zealand. The plants are lifted straight from the nursery for packing - we do not believe in storage-rooms where plants can dry out - and are dispatched within hours, reaching their destination in perfect order. Our central location places us within easy reach of all parts of the country. Roots are kept moist in damp newsprint and sealed in a plastic bag inside a strong, cardboard box. Delays caused by wet weather mean we cannot guarantee the delivery dates as advised. Our couriers do a great job in getting the orders from A to B but sometimes addresses may be unclear and extra time will be needed to make the delivery. Be assured our superb packing methods ensure the roses are snug and happy even if a week or so elapses from the date they are lifted in Motueka and then planted on some distant mountain top.

Please note, we do our best to get orders out to you as fast as we can once the lifting season commences. If you are in our system we will get to your order. We might receive 30 calls in a day asking "...where is my order" and each call means we have to stop and do research - it all takes time and takes staff away from the job of packing and processing orders. So, please, next year, come July/August, resist the urge to phone us unless of course it is urgent. We will get to your order.