Hints & Tips from National Trust Gardeners - Roses

Rosa 'Fantin Latour' - picture courtesy of Threadspider who took this specially for me yesterday morning as I have no roses blooming in my garden at the moment. Thanks Judith :)
One of the great things about volunteering at Heelis is having access to their Intranet aka internal website. There's so much of interest and ooohh the photographs are gorgeous. I have to ration myself each time I'm there, otherwise I'd be spending my whole time surfing instead of getting on with my volunteer duties. One thing that did catch my eye this week was a long promised 'Rose Recipe'. Ed Ikin, the Head Gardener at Nymans has revealed how he and his team keep the roses in their care healthy for the whole season:
  • Early April - spray once with conventional fungicide e.g. Roseclear 3
  • 2 weeks after first spray - apply bicarbonate of soda fortnightly: 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda per litre of water, plus a couple of drops of washing up liquid (Ecover) and vegetable oil
  • Switch to milk in the 3rd to 4th week of July: 1 part milk to 10 parts water with drops of washing up liquid and vegetable oil
  • Spray until early October and then spray with Roseclear 3 one more time
  • Also spray with Maxicrop ( a seaweed plant feed and tonic) in between the bicarbonate of soda and milk sprays
This is a vast improvement on the usual regime found in most rose care guides, though I'm surprised at the use of 2 fungicide applications as Ed is a member of the Trust's sustainable gardens project team. Nymans is one of the gardens at the forefront in researching what can be done to reduce the National Trust's eco-footprint, so I'll be keeping an eye open for a revised rose recipe and any other handy hints and tips to pass on to you.

In the meantime, what's your favourite eco-friendly plant care routine?


  1. I feed the birds all the year around, which means they also come and take aphids and other insects from my roses, apples and so on all year round too. Blue Tits are pariculary good at this and I put up nests boxes to encourage them.

    I make my own leaf mould and compost, and also use nettles and comfrey to make feeds.

    If you go back to Mother's Day I did a blog about Nymans and a trip we took there in March. It is about time I took a return trip, the herbacious borders and rose garden should just about be beginning to look good.

    I like the sound of your voluntary job, it sounds very interesting.

    Best Wishes,


  2. I thought you might like to see some other Roses to brighten your day. I will post some roses in a few months, but in the meantime, here is the location to the photos that I will post from the Portland Rose Festival in Oregon. In my opinion, the premier rose festival in the U.S.


    Cut and paste into your browser and enjoy.

    Let me know if you like them.

    Have a great weekend,
    Troy and Martha

  3. I'm really surprised about the roseclear - must see what HG thinks. We are spraying each week - alternately with garlic spray to scare off the aphids and a proprietary organic blend of foliar feed/soap/magic mix - as well as seaweed drenching to the roots. Everything is looking quite good at the mo (may be in bloom next week for you!)

  4. I foliar treat with milk on my tomatoes. I don't tell to many people that. It works.

  5. I shouted at the pigeon in my cherry tree that was eating the green cherries to bugger off.


  6. I try to encourage beneficial wildlife into the garden and I have a number of compost heaps.

    I think I'll give the rose treatment a go but I'll omit the fungicide. Using milk is new to me.

  7. Zoe - the birds are doing a great job on my garden pests too. I haven't used nettles and comfrey yet, but I'm toying with the idea of compost tea. I've added Nymans to my must see list along with Mottisfont :)

    Texas Travellers - thanks, I'll have a look at them as soon as I've posted this response to everyone's comments!

    RPF - looks like your Rose Recipe should be put up on the intranet too!

    Debbi - I'm glad you said that, I'd often heard about using milk, but nothing about whether it works. Thanks!

    Simon - I did that too, but I think our pigeons must be deaf :(

    Easygardener - I'm a great believer in compost heaps, having no less than 8 myself. I use a seaweed foliar feed - it works well, so quite like the idea of trying out everyone's recommendations.

  8. MILK! MILK!
    I don't suppose you found that empty dairy crest carton anywhere near the rose beds, did you?


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