A unique, comprehensive course for rose enthusiasts whether professionals or amateur growers. Over eight lessons you will study the following:
1. Introduction - identification & classification (modern and species roses are considered).
2. Culture - pruning, nutrition, pests & diseases, planting, watering, etc.
3. Propagation - seed, cuttings, layering, budding & grafting, etc.
4. Hybrid Teas and Floribundas.
5. Old World Roses.
6. Climbers, Miniatures, Standards & Weepers.
7. Using Roses - cut flowers, tubs, hydroponics.
8. Special Assignment.

Fee Code: S2
Enrol online


By John Mason
Principal, Australian Horticultural Correspondence School
(Published originally in Queensland Homes Magazine)

A beautiful bed of roses can be a gardener's pride and joy. Roses are generally very healthy plants and they live a long time if their health is maintained. Always buy healthy plants and choose a sunny well drained position to plant them in. As they have a shallow fibrous root system, avoid planting near large trees which have shallow spreading roots.

Providing good soil conditions will help ensure your roses stay healthy. Most roses will tolerate a wide variety of soil types, but prefer reasonable drainage. Adding gypsum to clay soils will help improve soil structure. Adding well rotted organic matter to the soil will help retain moisture, improve soil structure and nutrition, and help maintain soil temperatures at suitable levels for growth. If your soil has an acid pH adding lime will generally prove beneficial. The lime can be added to the soil prior to planting, or sprinkled onto the soil surface for establishing roses.

Roses respond well to feeding. A slow release fertilizer or well rotted manure is best.
Roots can be burnt if they come in contact with strong fertilisers. Be careful to keep rotting material away from the base of the rose.

Watering is essential if a rose is to flower well. Avoid watering the foliage - it's better to make a dish in the soil at the base of a plant and fill it with water to allow slow penetration. Don't let plants dry out.

Annual winter pruning is essential to rejuvenate the plant and encourage growth of young wood (flowers form on these young shoots... the more young shoots, the more flowers). In temperate climates at least half of the top growth is removed each winter. In snow areas cut plants back very hard (ie 95%) and cover with straw over winter. Roses are usually budded. When you prune them do not cut below the bud. Plants pruned regularly can last more than 100 years.

Roses are largely sold bare rooted in winter. You will buy the best selection of plants early winter when they are first released onto the market.

Aphis and caterpillars are major problems. They can be controlled with pyrethrum, malathion or rogor sprays. Black spot, mildew and rust are common fungal problems (use Benlate to control these -be careful not to get Benlate on your skin!)
To minimise pest and disease problems always remove and burn fallen leaves, prunings and mildew infected shoot tips. Ensure that plants won't be overcrowded. Good ventilation around your roses helps prevent fungal infections occurring.

Deciding 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. Different styles of roses include bush roses, climbers, ramblers, miniatures, standards and weeping 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. 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 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 stylised tree with bright blooms. The standard rose is excellent for formal gardens due to its elegant formal appearance.

Miniature roses have increased in popularity in recent times. 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.

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- 1.5 metres when trained on a trellis or they can be used as ground covers. They are also useful as hanging basket plants.

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 and grow to a height of no more than about 50 cm. They differ from miniatures, as the foliage and flowers are larger. Some patio roses that suit cottage garden are 'Cosette', 'Poker Chip', 'Frilly Dilly', 'Marlene', and 'Pinkie'.

A popular new group of roses,Ground Cover roses are mostly 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.

This group of roses are neither hybrid tea or floribunda but are old fashion 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. The shrub roses are the ideal cottage garden type, typically with pink shades, overblown and full of fragrance.

The old time rose greats still readily find a place in today's cottage 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 China roses.

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 Rosa bullata, Rosa centifolia and La Noblesse.

The Moss roses are offspring of Rosa centifolia 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. 'La France' is said to be the first hybrid Tea rose.

When you first move into a 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 over grown 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.

The rose has always been a symbol of affection. We often give rose blooms to loved ones for birthdays, Valentine's Day or just to say I LOVE YOU. The humble rose can also mean much more. Many roses have been developed to commemorate an occasion, such as the rose named 'Wedding Day'. We can use the names of roses or the year in which they were released to commemorate our own special occasions. If you had been invited to a 40th birthday in 1992 a rose that would have been suitable is the 1952 Scarlet Fire, or a rose named with the birthday person's name such as ' Felicia', 'Penelope', 'Sonia', or 'Julia's Rose'.

Consider the following suggestions:
The birth of a baby - try 'Great News'.
To ask for forgiveness give a gift of the 'Peace' rose.
Try a rose with long stems and rich coral orange flower such as 'Romantica' as a romantic gift.
For a welcome to a new home 'Sweet Home'.
As a congratulation for obtaining a new position how about 'Madam President'.
To a dear friend or loved one 'Dearest' says it all.
To that special person in you life 'First Love'.
For a win in a sport 'Gold Medal' is a great way to celebrate.

If it is the year that is important ask your nurseryman which rose was released in that year.
Some examples are; 1937 'Nancy Hayward'
1942 'Spring Gold'
1957 'Gay Vista'
1950 'Doreen'
1968 'Iceberg Climbing'
1971 'Devotion'
1987 'Lovely Lady'
1986 'Elina'
1990 'Old Fragrance'


Check our online bookshop for full details on all of our books (Printed and ebooks)