Stewart Pocock of Pococks Roses enthralled us all with his expert knowledge gained through a lifetime of growing, showing and caring for roses.
Stewart began by explaining how the roses are produced, starting with the complexities of T-budding field grown root stocks, a highly skilled but back breaking task involving removing a single bud from the stem of a desirable rose cultivar and inserting it into the neck of a suitable seedling rose rootstock. These plants are grown on for a year or more, before being lifted from the field between November and February to be sold as bare rooted plants to the public. This is the cheapest way to buy roses but a method which Stewart says we, the buying public, are shunning, maybe wrongly, in favour of buying pot grown plants.
Stewart then briefly ran through the various types of rose available: bush roses (hybrid teas and floribundas), patio roses, ground cover roses, old fashioned roses, English roses, climbers and continuous flowering ramblers. He highlighted some of his favourite cultivars from each group.
He went on to demonstrate how to prune roses to produce the amazing displays of blooms that we all crave; this was quite an eye opener, Stewart's mantra being that it's very difficult to kill a rose by pruning it too hard!
Turning to planting, Stewart explained the practicalities of planting bare root and container grown roses. He highlighted that to grow good roses you need a good soil, but you can grow roses in any type of soil as long as it's not waterlogged or had roses growing in it for more than ten years. The key to growing healthy roses is a regime of regular feeding and annual mulching, which will help keep your roses happy, and a happy rose is a healthy rose which won't require endless spraying with fungicides.
Obviously I have only given you snippets from Stewart's talk, but we were delighted to hear the positive comments as people left. One lady, a keen horticulturalist, remarked that this was "the best talk on roses" she had ever been to!
Pococks also produce their own ABSOLUTE ROSE range of toiletries using rose petals collected from their nursery in Romsey and also delicious melt-in-the-mouth TURKISH DELIGHT.
If you have had your appetite for growing roses whetted then please take a look at Pococks Roses' website where you will find lots more information and lots of roses; you can also follow them on Facebook.
Book Now for our next Guest Speaker : David Jewell. David will be talking about The Royal Horticultural Society Wisley Gardens' mixed border planting, combining the designs of Piet Oudolf and Tom Stuart-Smith.