The Original Garden Visitor's Guide

Sue's Garden - July Jottings 2017

Hello everyone, how are you?   How did you get on in June?

Well, it really has been a busy time of year for all of us ... what with juggling the maintenance of our gardens, the extra watering required and then squeezing in some garden visits. Did you manage to achieve all of the above and more?

I had hoped that time would permit at least one garden visit in June and it did -  Borde Hill, near Haywards Heath in West Sussex. However, in my last jottings I had mentioned I would be visiting gardens in Yorkshire ... well I have had to postpone that visit for various reasons, but mainly because of my work schedule ... no complaints about being busy though!

In my Garden Jottings this month, I am going to focus on the care of Roses or Rosa (to give the correct generic name), as my visit to Borde Hill was primarily to focus on these beautiful summer-flowering plants.

So, what do we need to know about them? Well let’s start with ...

Rosa 'Gertrude Jekyll'

Rosa 'Pretty Jessica'

Rosa 'L.D.Braithwaite'

Rosa 'The Fairy'

Rosa 'Sweet Asma'

Rosa 'Penelope'

The Italian Garden at Borde Hill
The Italian Garden at Borde Hill

Suckers - suckers grow from below a graft joint which shows as a swelling near the base of the stem. They will often appear from the soil, so it is a good idea, if you can, to trace back the sucker to the origin and cut out or prune out. The suckers will usually have more or fewer thorns than the rest of the rose and the wood will probably be a much paler green. You won't see suckers on roses grown on their own roots, for example Old Garden and Species Roses.

Dead-heading - remove any blooms as soon as you see them. Cut down the flower stem by about a third. Do not dead-head Old Garden Roses which are grown for their Autumn hips.

Rose Aphids - infestations can cause stunted growth and inferior blooms. The foliage can also become sticky with a sugary honeydew which has been excreted by the aphids and sooty mould (black powdery in appearance) can develop on the honeydew. There are several species of aphid which attack the rose. Look out for aphids early in the year and treat with a good quality spray from your garden centre or an organic spray which should also be available from your garden centre.

Rose Balling - this is when the flower buds fail to open and this occurs generally in damp weather. If damp weather persists the bud will rot. You can gently peel off those outer petals to reveal the bud before it has a chance to completely rot. There isn't much that can be done if the weather is inclement. When watering, restrict to the evening and water at the base of the Rose.

Black Spot – purple black spots develop on the foliage, which then leads to yellowing and then leaf drop.  This fungus, over a period of time can severely weaken the rose. Get rid of all infected leaves, including those at the base of the rose.  Prune out any stems showing the lesions.  I also remove a thin layer of the soil after removing the fallen leaves and then immediately mulch with fresh new compost.  The rose should be sprayed with an appropriate fungicide.  Consult your local garden centre for a good spray.

Rose Powdery Mildew – powdery, white fungal growth develops on the upper leaf surface. Leaves can be attacked when the leaves are young ... extensive damage occurs. The fungal growth is superficial and you can rub it off, but the tissue beneath is discoloured. Powdery mildew can develop on the stems, flower-buds and thorns. The fungus overwinters as stem infections and also in dormant buds.  Spores are airborne ... powdery mildew is caused by dry conditions around roots and moist air around foliage. Climbing roses on walls are prime candidates because of the drying effect of the bricks and also the rain-shadow effect. Prune out badly infected stems and spray with a fungicide ... consult your garden centre for the appropriate spray. Water the roses adequately, especially during any hot, dry weather, but try to avoid the foliage. Apply a good mulch which should encourage moisture retention.

Rose Rust – Bright orange spots on upper leaf surface with bright orange spore masses beneath. Leaves which are severely infected may drop prematurely. Leaf infections develop in early summer and are the most common and obvious. Moist air promotes the development and spread of the infection. The spores are air borne. Spores can overwinter on soil surface, fallen debris, stems, fences and stakes. Prune out stems showing spring infections ... do this as soon as you see the signs. Improve air circulation by thinning out any overcrowding stems and avoid planting too closely. Spray with a suitable fungicide available from your local garden centre.

Rosa 'Emma Hamilton'

Rosa 'Darcey Bussell'

Rosa 'James Galway'

Rosa de Recht

Rosa 'Jayne Austin'

Rosa 'Jubilee Celebration'

Rosa 'Showmee Music'
Rosa 'Showmee Music'

Rose Viruses – show up on leaves, as vein clearing, yellow flecking or mottling. The plant may show some distortion and stunting. Sometimes this can be a cause of weedkiller damage, which is far more common than virus symptoms. Some rose viruses are caused by soil living nematodes. Consult your garden centre for appropriate spray. Your rose may be suffering from nutrient deficiency and this can show in the yellowing of the leaves. Buy an appropriate feed from your garden centre.

Rose Sawfly - can be a nuisance at this time of year. The larvae are almost transparent and consume the inner tissue of leaves, leaving behind a skeleton. Use an appropriate spray from your garden centre.

Summer Feeding - Unless your soil is very nutrient rich, your rose will benefit from a feed. You could use some horse manure, mixed in with some good compost and place around the rose, avoiding the main stem. You could use a feed which you mix in with water and then water in around the base of the rose or a granular feed which you place around the rose and mix into the top layer of soil. Check your local garden centre for an appropriate product to meet your needs.

And finally ... keep tying in new growths on climbing roses. If you see any weeds around your roses, especially soft thistles (these act as a perfect host for aphids) remove immediately.

Now, I hope that the above doesn't sound too negative, because for all that, roses really are the loveliest plants to have in your garden and definitely worth the trouble, so I really hope it hasn't put you off from growing them.

Right, now on to my plant of the month and this time it is - of course - the Rose. I adore all the different styles from the singles to the grandiflora types. I think there is a style to suit everyone and every garden from patio to stately home. One of the draws for me has to be their delectable perfume which can be delicate to absolutely intoxicating.

So now to my garden visit ... Borde Hill Garden is situated within 200 acres of parkland and woodland and located in the High Weald of Sussex, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.' It is a garden full of great things to see and ideas to steal. There is a series of 'garden rooms', all with a different horticultural theme and all set within 17 acres of formal gardens. Borde Hill also has a great collection of trees and shrubs, amongst which some are champion specimens and some are rare in Britain. It's also a great place for families to go walking in the parkland, somewhere that children can run about and it's also great for picnicking. You can go for peaceful walks in the woodland ... and whichever direction you follow, you will come across the outstanding views across the High Weald.

Rosa 'Golden Beauty'
Rosa 'Golden Beauty'

Delphinium at Borde Hill

Blush Rambler


Penstemon and Sedum

Paradise Walk

The water feature at Borde Hill

All photographs taken by, and copyright of, Susan Liassides and reproduced with permission.

‘Much of what the visitor experiences today is thanks to Colonel Stephenson R. Clarke, who had the vision and energy to improve the landscape he bought in 1893 by planting new areas and enriching the existing woodlands with exotic and unusual trees, many of them collected by the great plant hunters of the 19th and 20th centuries.’

My visit on this occasion was to see the roses at their finest moment, during Borde Hill’s ‘Celebration of the Rose’ event - 19th-25th June.

The rose garden was designed by RHS Gold medallist Robin Williams in 1996.  It is planted with up to 750 gorgeous fragrant roses.  The rose garden is named after Andrewjohn and Eleni Stephenson Clarke’s daughter Jay Robin and this is a long-standing family tradition throughout the five generations at Borde Hill, to have various parts of the garden named after family members.  The roses are planted within a framework of low box hedging and lavenders. There is a wonderful array of colours from whites and yellows to pinks, oranges and reds.  Topiary and yew hedges frame the garden beautifully.  At the heart of the rose garden is a brick edged pool surrounded by plantings of nepeta...gorgeous.

There is also a sculpture exhibition on at the moment, it runs until 2nd October and features several rose-themed artworks specially created as part of the 2017 Sculpture Exhibition.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Rose garden and walking around the other gardens and especially enjoyed the Paradise Walk which was looking absolutely stunning with some unusual plants, one of which was Digitalis ferruginea, the rusty foxglove.

Well that’s all from me for this month, so until we ‘meet again’ in August, I do hope you find time to leave your own garden and go and visit some great gardens elsewhere, both for enjoyment and to give you inspiration for your own garden once you get back home.

Happy Gardening, Sue. SUE’S GARDENS - Garden Designer, Gardener, Consultant and Garden Writer

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