Roses In The Home Garden

Many gardeners have a soft spot for roses but making a choice on which roses to grow can be quite a task. There is an abundance of varieties to choose from with different, styles, colours and growth habits. Start by looking at the style of rose that would best suit your garden. The different styles of roses include bush roses, climbers, ramblers, miniatures, standards and weeping roses.

Bush Roses

Hybrid Tea roses are the most popular group of roses. The flower stems are long and the blooms are usually on single stems or with several side buds. The flowers are very shapely, of medium sized or larger with many petals forming a central cone. They flower from late spring to autumn and make excellent cut flowers.

Floribunda roses are often said to be more colourful then the hybrid tea rose as their flowering is more profuse and they stand up to wet weather better, and are unrivalled for providing a colourful bedding  display. The floribunda bears its flowers in clusters or trusses and several blooms open at one time in each cluster. It can be grown as a bush or as a standard rose and flower continuously from late spring to late autumn.

Standard roses

Standard roses are either hybrid tea or floribunda roses grafted on to a tall root stock to give the appearance of a long stem with an abundance of carefully pruned branches. It is a miniature stylized tree with bright blooms. The standard rose gives the garden a formal appearance so is very useful for formal shaped beds.

Miniature roses

Miniature roses have increased in popularity in recent times, as they can be used as a border plant for such things as a rose garden containing larger roses e.g. bush or standard types, or for a perennial bed. They are great tub plants and can be taken inside while in flower. The miniatures have small leaves and a profusion of small bright flowers. Their full flush of flowers is during summer and autumn but they will flower all through the year in warmer districts. Pruning should be kept to a minimum, only shaping is required.

Miniatures can also be grafted on to a long stem to produce a standard with a rounded top.

Climbers and ramblers

Climber and ramblers are a group of roses that require support and training.

Ramblers have long pliable stems that bear large clusters of small flowers. Their growth is often very vigorous but they provide a mass of colour in summer. Miniature climbers are also available. These will climb to a height of 1 to 1.5 metres when trained on a trellis or they can be used as ground covers. They are also useful as hanging basket plants.

Patio roses

This is a new group of roses that can be used in cottage gardens as potted plants or as a rose garden edge. They are compact low growing and grow to a height of no more than about 50cm. They differ from miniatures, as the foliage and flowers are larger. Some patio roses that may suit the home gardener are 'Cosette', 'Poker Chip', 'Frilly Dilly', 'Marlene', and 'Pinkie'.

Ground cover roses

Ground cover roses are a new group of roses that are becoming very popular.

Many are miniature climbing roses that are vigorous and will trail. They are low growing and will spread to approximately 2 3 metres in width, flowers are small but prolific and produce a very showy display when grown in rockeries, over banks, or at the base of shrub roses. These roses also make very good hanging basket or tub plants.

Shrub roses

This group of roses that are neither hybrid tea or floribunda but are old fashioned or species roses. They are commonly misunderstood roses and are often accused of only flowering once or of being very large growers. This is not always the case as many have repeated flowering and most grow to the same height as floribundas. Many of these shrub roses will thrive in conditions that are unsuitable to hybrid teas or floribundas.


Roses of old for today

The old time rose greats still readily find a place in today’s garden. One of the most popular is the yellow banksia rose. It is a rose that can ramble over a trellis or an unsightly object, and you can be assured that it will flower profusely. For the white garden enthusiast a white form of this rose is available. Other popular old roses are 'Felicitite et Perpetue', 'Fortunes Yellow', Devoniensis', 'Gloire de Dijon' and the moss, cabbage and chineseroses.

The Cabbage roses were developed in the 16th century and the beauty of this type of rose was often captured by artists. The cabbage rose has open growth with large and small thorns, the leaves are large and rounded, the flowers are as the name suggests globular or cabbage like in a range of pinks and whites. Examples are Rosabullata, Rosacentifolia and La Noblesse.

The Moss roses are offspring of Rosacentifolia and have moss like sticky hairs over the buds and stems. Examples of moss roses are 'Henri Martin' and 'Chapeau de Napoleon'.

China roses were the start of the development of modern day roses, as these roses were perpetual flowering and were bright and showy. Through breeding with the old roses the Bourbons rose and hybrid Perpetuals became available which gave gardens brightly coloured roses of yellows, oranges, flame apricot and cream.

Restoring old roses

When you first move into this new home that was advertised as a renovator’s delight, not only does the home confront you but so does the garden. Often there is an old rose bush or bushes that are overgrown and are in need of attention. The first thought is normally to pull them out, but you could be losing a potentially beautiful old rose.

Begin to restore your old roses by removing the old dead wood and the crossing branches. Feed the roses with a complete fertilizer and ensure that each rose has adequate air movement around it. Wait a season to see whether the rose is showing signs of improvement and if the blooms are worthwhile.

Once the initial steps have been taken then a normal maintenance program for your roses can be commenced including: winter pruning, mulching, regular watering, and pest and disease control.




Rose based foods are highly nutritional as rose hips provide high levels of vitamin C, as well as being a medicinal cure for a number of ailments. Rose oil is used to cool a hot inflammation, rose water is used to cool and refresh the weak and faint spirits, and to soothe sore red eyes.  A decoction of red roses made with white wine is very good for a headache and pain in the eyes, ears, throat and gums.
Here are some recipes to try.

Rose petal jam

Gather rose flowers giving preference to the dark colours as these have the strongest flavour. Remove the petals and cut of the white base.

  • To each cup of petals add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar.
  • Boil until the sugar hardens on the spoon.
  • Add 2 3 drops of lemon juice and a pinch of tartic acid at the gelling time to prevent the jam from becoming bitter.
  • Place the jam into sterile jars and seal.

Rose petal honey


Collect and prepare your rose petals as for jam.

  • Mash 250g of petals and boil in 1\2 litre of water for 15 minutes.
  • Strain of the solids and add to 1kg of liquid honey.
  • Boil down to a thick syrup and then place in sterilised jars.

Rose water

Collect fragrant rose petals and then bruise them and cover with water in a saucepan. Heat gently for a few minutes. Strain off the petals and bottle the fragrant water.

Rose tea tonic

Place a teaspoon of flowers in a cup of boiling water and let stand for an hour or so. Strain out the petals and drink when cold as a tonic.

Rose hip syrup

Pick the rose hips and remove the spent flower end. Place 2kg of hips in a saucepan with 1.5 litres of water.  Bring to the boil and boil until soft.

  • Mash until pulpy then add another litre of water and bring to the boil while stirring.
  • Once cooked strain the pulp through a fine cloth and squeeze, collecting the squeezed out liquid in a container of some sort.
  • Return the residue to the pan with another litre of water. Repeat this procedure twice more.
  • Boil the collected liquid with 1\2 kg of sugar for every litre, boil for 5 minutes and place into sterilised sealable bottles.

Rose vinegar

Fill an earthen ware container with fragrant rose petals, press them down and fill the container with wine vinegar. Cover and leave for several weeks. Strain and place into bottles that can be sealed.




Rose pot pourri

Pot pourri making is a garden craft that is once again very popular. A rose pot pourri can add a delicate fragrance to a bedroom, or a bathroom. Rose pot pourri is best made from deep red roses as these have the strongest scent but any rose can be used to make pot pourri. The most important rule when making pot pourri is that the roses are first dried by either hanging them in bunches or laying them on wire trays or spread out on news paper. Once dry break the petals from the base of the flower and place all the parts into a decorative container. To enhance the fragrance add a small amount of rose oil.

Drying roses

Dried roses will last indefinitely and are great in dried flower arrangements, as deep red roses and pinks keep their colour. When drying choose semi  doubles or doubles. Cut off the stems and lay the blooms into oven dry fine sand face up. Start with sand in a container of approximately 2.5cm deep ensuring that 2.5cm space is left between each flower. Slowly add more sand so that all parts of the flower are covered with another 2.5cm of sand.

Seal the container and leave for 3 4 weeks in a warm dry place. Once dry remove from the sand and gently shake the sand out of the flower. Insert florist wire into the base of the rose and cover with florist tape.  

Rose perfume

Roses need to be picked early in the morning with the dew still on them. Choose blooms that are just opening rather than full blown ones. Attar of roses or rose perfume is traditionally made from damask roses, but any fragrant rose will do. Use a pottery container not metal or glass. Line it with petals and sprinkle with a thin layer of rock salt. Repeat the layers until the container is full. Seal the container and leave it undisturbed for at least 3 weeks in a cool dark cupboard. After this time strain the liquid through a fine cloth into a glass container and seal once again. Stand the liquid in the sun for 6 weeks so that it settles. When it is reopened you will have a concentrated rose perfume.



Roses are generally very hardy plants and they live a long time provided that their health is maintained. A well grown plant will withstand a pest problem better than one growing under difficult situations. Always buy healthy plants and choose a sunny, well drained position to plant them in. To minimise pest and disease problems always remove and burn fallen leaves, prunings and mildew infected shoot tips. Ensure that they will not be overcrowded. Good ventilation around your roses helps prevent fungal problems occurring.

Providing good soil conditions will also help ensure your roses stay healthy. The addition of gypsum to clay soils will help improve soil structure. The addition of well rotted organic matter to the soil will also help improve soil structure, as well as improving soil nutrition and helping to retain moisture, and to help maintain soil temperature at suitable levels for good growth. If your soil has an acid pH then the addition of lime will generally prove beneficial. The lime can be incorporated into the soil prior to planting or sprinkled onto the soil surface for established roses. Mulches are also very beneficial, but be careful to keep rotting material away from the base of the rose.


Aphids:  Aphids are a common problem in spring. They are either brown, green or black and are found on the new shoots or flower buds which can cause the rose to have distorted growth or flowers.

Control:           -Use a jet of water to remove them
                        -Spray with pyrethrum or garlic spray.
-Mix up an organic spray of 1 tbsp pest oil and 1 tsp of bicarbonate soda in 4.5 litres of water.


Two spotted mite (red spider mite): Difficult insects to see, so you must look for the signs of attack. The foliage will look dry as if it requires water. Inspect the back of the leaves with a magnifying glass and you will see a fine web with red spiders.

Control:           -They dislike sulphur dust and benlate.

-To totally kill them use insecticides. These chemicals can be very dangerous so avoid using them if possible. An alternative is to use a predatorial mite which eats the damaging mites.

Thrips: They are small thin black insects that damage rose blooms in spring, particularly light coloured flowers.

Control:           -This can be difficult and only worthwhile if the blooms are for display or sale. To control spray regularly with a pyrethrum or garlic spray.



Black spot: Is a fungus disease that looks like black spots in a random scattering followed by yellowing of the leaves. The leaves will eventually fall from the bush and branches die back. This disease likes humid warm weather so to control black spot spray in spring before attack occurs.

Prevention:      -Dispose of all prunings in the bin.
-Don't overhead water as this can create the right conditions for the spread of disease.
-Water early in the morning.

Control :          -Bordeaux or Kocide in spring prior to signs of the disease.
                        -Triforine is used when the disease is visible.

Powdery Mildew: This disease looks like a white powdery substance on the young shoots leaves and buds . Powdery mildew strikes when the weather is fine and mild with dewy nights in spring and autumn.


-Spray with wettable sulphur.

Rust: Visible in spring as small orange rusty specks on the underside of the leaves .The top of the leaves show light green spots .


-With this disease it is very important to remove and burn the infected plant parts as the infected fallen leaves will reinfect the roses the following year.
-Spray with appropriate fungicide. 

Wilt and Die back: Shoots may die back from the tip down. This may not be a specific disease, it may be caused by waterlogging, dryness, frost damage, mildew , black spot or another problem such as insufficient nutrients. Cut off the infected part at a bud below the dead area and burn the infected parts.                        




Roses by colour


Black Beauty  
Hybrid tea   
Bush or standard rose     
Fragrant velvet red
Mr Lincoln    
Hybrid tea
Bush, sometimes standard
Deep red double cut flower rose
Mme G Deibard 
Hybrid tea   
Bush or standard rose     
Weather resistant bright deep red
Bush or standard          
Deep crimson open rosette flowers, fragrant
Shrub rose   
Ground cover              
double blood red                                                   slightly fragrant
Grande Duchesse                          
Shrub rose   
tomato red flower
Old fashioned                            
slightly fragrant
William Lobb  
Species rose 
Moss rose                 
semi double purple                                                   magenta, fragrant
single blood red                                           slightly fragrant
Crimson Glory 
double deep crimson, very fragrant
Scarlet Gem                  miniature                 
bright red, popular
pot plant
John F Kennedy      
Hybrid tea  
Bush or standard     
white large double,                                                         blooms fragrant
Hybrid tea  
Bush or standard     
white with cream                                                  centre resistant to                                                black spot and mildew
Hybrid tea  
Bush or standard     
pure white semi 
                                                        double, fragrant
Bush or standard     
lovely cream tones,
with reflexed petals
Bush or climber      
pure white double,
                                                        very fragrant
Sea form           
Shrub rose   
Ground cover         
small white                           weeping standard      blooms
Pour Toi                                    
white with creamy                                                      yellow tinge at                        the base
Madame Alfred                  
Old fashioned  
double white flushed
Boule de Neige     
Old fashioned
Shrub rose           
ivory white double                                                      very fragrant
Diamond Jubilee    
Hybrid tea  
Bush or standard     
deep buff yellow, very fragrant
Helmut Schmidt     
Hybrid tea   
Bush or standard     
pure clear yellow free flowering
Northern Lights    
Hybrid tea   
Bush or standard     
primrose yellow, sometimes flushed pink, very fragrant
bright deep yellow, very fragrant
Gold Bunny         
soft gold blooms
Canary Bird        
Old fashioned                        
single canary yellow species rose  bush, fragrant
Old fashioned
single primrose yellow, fragrant
Royal Gold                       
double deep yellow, slightly fragrant
Rise 'N'Shine                    
deep yellow large blooms
Yellow Doll                      
creamy yellow good pot plant
First Love          
Hybrid tea  
Shrub or standard    
lovely soft pink semi double
Olde Fragrance      
Hybrid tea  
Shrub or standard    
highly scented cerise, produces an abundance of blooms
Prima Ballerina     
Hybrid tea  
Shrub or standard    
rich rose pink double flower
Bella Rosa          
Shrub or standard    
salmon pink flowers
Shrub or standard    
soft rosy salmon, very fragrant
Frilly Dilly        
Patio rose  
Small shrub          
shell pink flowers

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