episode 18 | show notes & advice
Roses are one of the most desired flowers for many occasions, loved for their beauty and scent, but they are an increasingly fashionable addition to a garden setting too. Rachel Siegfried has spent the last 10 years growing over five acres of roses at her Green and Gorgeous farm in Oxfordshire, and is well versed in which varieties suit particular scenarios, and how to grow a healthy rose.
Rachel joins Sarah & Arthur this week to share how you can make the most of your roses, including her pick of rose feed, how to condition them once picked, and keeping red spider mite and black spot away from your flowers.
in this episode, discover...
- The origins of Rachel’s incredible farm of roses
- Tips for healthy rose growth, and the best ways to feed them
- Dealing with red spider mite
- Sarah, Arthur & Rachel’s favourite roses
- Conditioning roses after picking, and the best things to pair with roses
links and references
Roses with Rachel Siegfried
Roses and flower farming with Rachel Siegfried from Green and Gorgeous
Rachel has been in Oxfordshire with her partner Ashley for 13 years, farming over five acres of land. She grows her roses in four open-sided Spanish tunnels, which act as rain covers to keep the rain off the flowers and reduce the risk of black spot (a fungal disease which is transmitted by moisture carrying spores on to the plant).
Rachel’s favourites for Cutting
- Half-hardy annuals such as antirrhinums and zinnias
- Special polytunnel sweet pea varieties - Rachel finds that by the time the normal sweet peas come into flower in June, it is already getting too hot, and the stems are too short, so she grows the early ones, which start flowering in April. Early Multiflora Types - Rachel favours the Sunshine Series, sown in October, planted in the tunnels in January. The tunnels are not heated but Rachel will use fleece if it gets very cold. The sweet peas come into their own through May, June and July, which is a much longer flowering period than the outside varieties, producing much longer stems (though admittedly, not so much scent).
- Honeysuckle (In particular Lonicera americana which is very vigorous).
- Perennial pea, which gets going as the sweet peas finish in the tunnels
Rachel’s tips for roses-for-picking growing
- Use repeat flowerers – then you get light cropping for months, not just weeks.
- Plant bare root – plant are cheaper and healthier. Bare root plants are available in the dormant season between November and early March.
- Plant very carefully, with really good ground preparation, digging a very generous hole for every plant, then lots of farmyard manure. 40 roses takes 2 people a full day to plant – so that’s an indication of how much attention goes into the planting stage.
- Plant with mycorrhizal fungi – which definitely seems to help them grow. 5
- When plants start to grow, feed weekly through the entire season. They are repeat flowering and so get exhausted. Rachel uses Uncle Tom’s Rose tonic which can be watered into the ground or sprayed onto the foliage to help creates a shield to protect leaves against fungal disease.
- Deadhead spent flowers if you don’t pick every head (especially important in the first year after planting).
Varieties Rachel’s favourites for weddings and events
Rachel looks for roses that are very productive, blousy, romantic, scented, usually pastel coloured and have a good vase life.
- ‘Queen of Sweden’:Hold its heads upright – ideal for a bouquet
- ‘Port Sunlight’:Apricot, with dark stem, repeat-flowering, thorn-free, so great for cutting. BRILLIANT David Austen. (like ‘Grace’)
- R. x odorata ‘Mutabilis’:very natural-looking,
- R. glauca: just for its foliage
- R. ‘Sally Holmes’: a vigorous shrub rose, doesn’t stop flowering from June to September. This is ideal for large scale flowers
Farm gate – need excellent vase life
Hybrid Teas and modern roses
- R. ‘Duchess of Cornwall’: good stem length so good for bouquet
- R. ‘Chris Beardshaw’: pink, blousy Hybrid tea
- R. ‘Honey Dijon’: mustard-grey
- R. ‘Stephen Rouleaux’: strange mustard mixed with grey buds, open to grey and fade to lilac, cuts brilliantly, lasts in the vase and flowers all summer. An acquired taste.
- R. ‘Caramel Antique’: full cabbage rose shape, great vase life
- R. ‘Irish Hope’: soft yellow, floribunda type with 30 flowers on one stem. Small, vanilla icecream coloured perfect flowers
And a few more roses from Arthur
- R. ‘Summer Song’: wonderful colour, but does hang its head
- R. ‘Charles de Mills’: healthy, amazing scent
Rachel’s picking rules
- Pick on the morning of the wedding
- Strip thorns only if in a bouquet, not if going in the vase (as makes them look ugly)
- Cut them with a sharp angled cut
- Place into deep, cold water as soon as possible
- Put into the chiller until they leave the farm
Rachel’s favourite things to mix with roses
- Herbaceous clematis varieties
- Sweet peas
- Daucus carota ‘Dara’
Rachel’s suggestions for things to plant now to put with cut roses
- Scented leaf pelargoniums ‘Attar of Roses’ and ‘Chocolate Peppermint’
- Salvias e.g. ‘Ember’s Wish’
- Grasses e.g. Pennisetum
- Dahlias – to go with the second flush of roses
- Fruiting branches e.g. snowberries, crab-apples