Human beings are fickle and rose growers need to be clairvoyant!
You wouldn’t expect there to be fashions in rose colours as there are in clothes, but there are, and that means that when we are planning which roses to propagate, we need to be mind-readers!
This is because there is a long period before plants will be ready for sale so that those varieties we propagate now, for example, will not be ready for sale until the autumn of 2020.
Most recently, the “fashionable” colours have been lilacs and purples, but who knows whether that will be the case by the time people start to buy their stocks in the autumn of 2020 for planting in the next season.
It is often assumed that red roses are always favourites, perhaps because they flood the shops as cut flowers particularly for Valentine’s and for Mother’s Day, but actually the popularity of red roses for the garden has ebbed in the last couple of years.
Perennial favourite colours tend to be pinks and peachy/apricot colours but people have very mixed reactions to bi-coloured and striped roses – they either love them or hate them.
The meanings of different rose colours
It was the Victorians in the mid-19th Century who started to attribute meanings to different colours with the most obvious being red as a signature of love.
Earlier this year the magazine Good Housekeeping published a fairly light-hearted guide to rose colours and their meaning. If you followed the guide, you might want to steer clear of white roses, said to indicate “a heart unacquainted with love”, similarly, yellow, which is associated with jealousy and infidelity.
Cream, however, indicates both charm and thoughtfulness.
You would be safe enough choosing pink, since they are said to mean grace and elegance, while peach signifies modesty, sincerity, and gratitude.
Orange, on the other hand implies enthusiasm and passion while salmon is apparently all about desire and excitement.
All this can make planning ahead a bit of a minefield as you can see!
Cultivation notes for May
Great time to plant containerised roses now the end of the traditional planting season has finished.
Make sure you water the container before tapping the plant out so that you do not disturb the root system. No extra fertilizer is needed at this stage. Do however keep well-watered, and also water any bare rooted roses planted from November to April for this their first season.
Don’t forget a preventative spraying programme with a fungicide and when necessary an insecticide. It is easier to prevent diseases than cure!