Gertrude Jekyll roses were first bred in 1986 in the United Kingdom by David Austin. David is famous the world over for his old English shrub roses, not to mention quite a few varieties of climbing roses. You will find his creations in markets all over the world. This particular rose was created by crossing the Wife of Bath rose with the rose Comte de Chambord. The result is a wonderful classic pink rose that produces large blooms and have a strong rose fragrance.
The rose Gertrude Jekyll will produce blooms that average a little over 4 inches in diameter and they will be very full with upwards of 80 or more petals each. The plant itself will grow anywhere from 4 feet tall, all the way up to 10 feet tall at full maturity. It can reach widths of 6 feet across as well. This is definitely one of those roses that offers you a wide range of versatility in your garden. Just make sure to plan properly when growing the rose Gertrude Jekyll or you may find that you run out of space quickly!
Growing the rose Gertrude Jekyll is not very hard and if you happen to have any past experience growing roses, then you should not find this variety to be terribly challenging. The most important decision you will make in the life of your roses is where in the garden you choose to grow them. Roses typically will need a lot of direct sun light if you want them to perform at their best and this one is no exception. Try to select a location that gets at least 6 to 8 hours each day of direct sun light. If you can provide more, that is even better!
You also will want to grow your Gertrude Jekyll roses in soil that drains very well. This is a very simple thing to do, and yet it is often one of the most overlooked aspects of growing roses. Poor soil drainage can lead to a variety of issues with your roses, causing them to underperform and also become very weak and unhealthy. If you take a trip to your local garden center you will that they most likely have a wide range of soil mixes available for you to choose from, several of which should be designed specifically for growing roses. Choose the one that best suits your application and use that. Your rose Gertrude Jekyll will thank you for it.
Getting your Gertrude Jekyll roses into the ground is pretty straight forward and most growers can get the job done very well with a few basic hand tools. If you bought your rose from a local nursery, then chances are it was already established for you in a container and ready to bloom. These are the easiest roses to plant. Dig your hole at least twice the diameter of the container and equally as deep. This will give you plenty of room around the roots for your soil mix while keeping the bud union at its original depth.
If you bought your Gertrude Jekyll roses online, then they may have shipped them to you as bareroot plants, which is not uncommon. You should first soak the roots of these overnight in a bucket of room temperature water, prior to planting day, to rehydrate the roots. Then dig your hole at least twice the diameter of the container and deep enough to allow you to set the plant on top of a mound of soil while keeping the bud union no more than an inch or so below the surface of the soil.
Once you have your rose Gertrude Jekyll set in place on top of the mound, spread the roots out in all directions and then back fill the hole about halfway to start, using your soil mix. Take your garden hose and water the loose soil heavily until it flows around the roots like mud, then you can go ahead and finish filling the hole the rest of the way. Give the soil one more heavy watering and be sure to top off any final settling that may occur but do not tamp down the soil. This method should make sure that you do not get any air pockets around the roots.
Taking care of your rose Gertrude Jekyll is fairly simple and once again, any past experience you may have growing roses will sure come in handy here as well. You will need to make sure that you are providing your roses with enough water and nutrients, while taking care not to overdo it. For most climates this usually amounts to about one deep watering per week. If your climate is unusually hot or dry, then you should check on your roses every 4 to 5 days.
You also should consider giving your Gertrude Jekyll roses a dose of a granular all-purpose fertilizer in the spring when the leaves have started to open. Like most of David’s creations, this one is also a repeat bloomer which means it will benefit nicely from a few additional feedings over the course of the growing season. I usually give my roses their second feeding as soon as they have finished the first big bloom, then a third feeding around the middle of the summer to encourage late season flushes. Your rose Gertrude Jekyll should do nicely on this schedule also.
You should prune the rose Gertrude Jekyll in the very early spring or late winter, when the weather starts to warm but before the leaves have begun to open. Start by removing all the dead wood from the plant and set your cuttings aside. Never, prune back any overlapping lateral canes so these do not compete for sun light once the leaves fully open. Lastly, give the remaining canes a cut back by about one third of their current height to promote new growth.
This is also the best time to clean up around the base of your Gertrude Jekyll roses and get rid of all the dead leaves and debris that may have collected there from the previous growing season. Throw all of this material away in the trash, along with your cuttings. Never let dead matter lay around your roses as it can quickly turn into a breeding ground for pests and diseases. Finish up your pruning by giving your rose Gertrude Jekyll a fresh new layer of mulch to start off the growing season.
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