I KNOW it’s a bit early in the season to be championing roses, but the rose has been voted the nation’s favourite flower in a survey of 3,000 people by Hozelock.
Some 35% voted for the popular flower, followed by daffodils and lilies at 16% and snowdrops at 10%.
Leading gardening writer and broadcaster Matt Biggs, who counts Rosa ‘William Lobb’ among his favourites, says: “Despite its traditional appeal, this quintessential English garden flower is currently proving its worth in contemporary designs and is certain to remain our favourite for many years to come.
“Climbers, ramblers, groundcover or hedging – there is a fabulous rose for every site.”
While they may not always be the easiest plants and growers still endeavour to perfect disease-resistant varieties which will fight off black spot and mildew, there are so many varieties now that you don’t have to confine them to dedicated beds but can grow them effectively in borders, alongside shrubs with attractive leaves, up trellises and in pots.
While historically roses have liked rich, slightly acid soil with a generous addition of organic matter plus regular feeds, some, such as Gallica, Alba and Rugosa roses, are tough and tolerant of poor, dry soils.
Nearly all roses need a minimum of four hours’ direct sunshine a day during the growing season to do well and they prefer firm soil in an open situation with plenty of air circulation, but not in an excessively windy spot.