Everything is Coming Up Roses at Old Castle Cottage

Thank you to everyone for the overwhelming support as I’ve launched my blog. I’ve received numerous inquiries about the roses in my garden and rose care. In my opinion, roses are unparalleled in the cottage garden due to their wide range of colors and delightful fragrance. To achieve the desired cottage garden effect, I interplant my roses with other cottage garden flowers. I have several personal favorites known for their fragrance and color.

First and foremost is the David Austin Olivia Rose, bred not only for its fragrance but also for the overall health of the plant. It boasts beautiful large pink buds that unfurl into exquisite rosettes, displaying a stunning pink hue. Shown blow she is intermingled with Nepeta Walkers low and May Night Salvia.

Another favorite in my pink-themed garden is the Gentle Hermione. This variety showcases perfectly formed shallow cups that start as pure light pink and gently fade to a soft blush on the outer petals. Below she is shown planted with Clematis ‘Jackmanii.’

Rounding out my collection of pink shrub roses is the Queen of Sweden. Initially, it exhibits a delicate apricot-pink shade that gradually transforms into a soft pink over time. I place this rose in a slightly shadier area compared to Olivia and Gentle Hermione, as it tolerates such conditions well. She is shown below with Nepeta Walker’s Low.

No cottage garden would be complete without climbing roses. Among my favorites is Strawberry Hill, which features small clusters of large mid-pink cupped rosettes and is ideal for trellises, obelisks, or walls. i am currently training her up the trellis and over my kitchen window. she is shown below planted with Annabelle Hydrangeas, Millenium Alliums and Green Velvet Boxwoods.

Another recent addition to my garden is the Generous Gardener climbing rose. With its pale pink blooms and strong old rose scent, I am eagerly anticipating its graceful climb over the new arch I’ve installed.

Claire Austin, with its creamy white flowers, is a good climber that tolerates shade. However, I’ve noticed that its petals can be somewhat delicate compared to the other roses I mentioned, although its attractive green foliage compensates for this.

A highly productive and fast-growing climber in my garden is the New Dawn, adorned with sweetly fragrant medium-sized soft pink flowers that beautifully adorn my birdhouses.

Lastly, the Eden Climber, with its old-fashioned double blooms in pastel pinks and creams, is an excellent climbing rose, particularly suited for my smaller trellis.

When early spring arrives, I embark on the task of pruning my roses. I cut them back by about a third and remove any dead stems that didn’t survive the harsh winter in my Zone 6b area. Pruning serves two main purposes: shaping the roses to fit seamlessly within my garden space and stimulating fresh new growth for the following season. To learn the best pruning techniques, I rely on David Austin’s tutorials. Additionally, my rose bushes are known to be heavy feeders. Providing them with proper nutrition not only promotes abundant blooms but also helps ward off diseases. After pruning, I feed my roses with Rose-tone in early spring. I pull back any mulch, create a trench around the rose, and apply the fertilizer near the roots. I repeat this process after the first flush of blooms in summer.

When it comes to acquiring new roses, I typically purchase bare root roses from davidaustin.com in late winter and plant them during early spring. Both David Austin and Jackson & Perkins usually deliver the roses just in time for planting in your specific zone. Upon receiving the roses, I soak them in water until I’m ready to plant, which sometimes takes a day or a few days depending on my schedule. I follow the given instructions for planting, apply compost, and use Biotone. David Austin also sells a starter for their roses that you buy online. For me, it takes about the end of the season before I see the first blooms from my bare root roses. I find it less expensive for me to purchase bare root roses for the amount of roses I purchase. You will get the same results sooner if you buy potted roses, whether that is at your local nursery or David Austen. 

As a rose enthusiast, I have found immense joy and satisfaction in cultivating my rose garden. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner, incorporating roses into your cottage garden can truly elevate its charm and appeal. So, embrace the beauty of roses, tend to them with care, and witness the magic they bring to your garden. Happy gardening!

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  1. Your garden is inspiring. I am going to plant a Moon Garden in the spring and will add some white roses! Thank you for the information!

  2. I’m saving this, such great information. I’ve recently became enamored with the look of roses, and I love how you have your garden set up.

  3. Your roses and other flowers are gorgeous!! The colors you have chosen are my colors of choice. Your flowers and plants also look so healthy! I have decided that I need to do some amending to my soil, as mine has compacted somewhat throughout the years. If I do this, and be more consistent on fertilizing, I will be looking forward to prettier roses and plants too! ❤️

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