Shropshire Lad roses were first bred in 1997 in the United Kingdom by David Austin. In case you haven’t already heard of him, David is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading hybridizers of roses and you will find his many wonderful creations in gardens around the world. This particular rose was created by crossing the Heritage rose with an unnamed seedling. The result is a gorgeous peach colored rose that has an equally enjoyable fruity fragrance.
The rose Shropshire Lad will produce blooms that will average around 4 inches or so in diameter and the blooms will be extremely full with about 100 petals forming per bloom. The plant itself will grow as tall as 6 feet at full maturity with a width just slightly smaller than that. One unique aspect to the rose Shropshire Lad is that it is nearly thornless, making it a favorite among growers who can’t tolerate the occasional pricked finger. This hardy rose will do quite well in zones 5 through 10.
Growing the rose Shropshire Lad is not difficult and if you have any prior experience with roses then I am confident that you will not find this variety to be much of a challenge. The biggest decision that you will have to make in the life of your roses is where in your garden you choose to grow them. Roses require a lot of sun light if you want them to perform well and this one is no exception so try and pick a spot in your garden where they will receive no less than 6 to 8 hours each day of direct sun light.
You also will need to grow your Shropshire Lad roses in soil that drains very well. This is a common requirement when growing roses but it is also one of the most common mistakes that I see growers make. If your garden soil isn’t up to the task, your roses will likely under-perform and become sick and unhealthy. This is however a very simple thing to correct. Take a trip to your local garden center and pick up a bag or two of soil mix that is designed specifically for growing roses. Your rose Shropshire Lad will thank you in the long run for it!
Getting your rose Shropshire Lad into the ground is fairly simple and most growers can get the job done well with just a few basic hand tools. How you go about planting your roses does depend a little bit on how you purchased them. If you bought one at a local nursery, then it may have already been planted 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 Shropshire Lad roses online, then they might have shipped them to you as bareroot plants, which is pretty common. You should first soak the roots of these in a bucket of room temperature water prior to panting day. Then dig your hole as wide as the longest roots of the plant and deep enough to let you 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 Shropshire Lad set in place on the mound of soil, spread your roots out in every direction and then back fill the hole at least halfway to start, using your soil mix. Then use the garden hose to water the loose soil heavily until it flows all around the roots like mud, then you can go ahead and finish filling the hole the rest of the way. Give the soil one last heavy watering and be sure to top off any final settling that may occur but never tamp down the soil. This method should make sure that no air pockets will form around the roots of the plant.
Taking care of the rose Shropshire Lad is not hard and once again any past experience you may have growing roses will certainly 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 regions this usually amounts to one deep watering per week. If your region is hot or dry then you should check on your roses every 4 to 5 days to be safe.
You also should consider giving your Shropshire Lad roses a dose of a granular all-purpose fertilizer in the spring when the leaves begin to open. This will give your roses a great jump on the growing season. 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 will always give my roses their second feeding as soon as they have finished with the first big bloom, then a third feeding around the middle of the summer to encourage late season flushes. Your rose Shropshire Lad should do well on this schedule also.
You should prune the rose Shropshire Lad in the very early spring or late winter when the weather starts to turn but before the leaves begin to open. This makes pruning so much easier. Start by removing all the discolored and dead wood from the plant and set all of your cuttings aside. Next, prune back any overlapping lateral canes so these do not compete for sun light when the leaves fully open. Lastly, give the remaining canes a cut back by about one third of their height to promote new growth.
This is also the best time to clean up around the base of your Shropshire Lad roses and get rid of all the dead leaves and debris that often collects there from the previous season. Throw away all of this dead material in the trash with your cuttings. You should never let dead matter lay around your roses as it quickly can turn into a breeding ground for pests and diseases. Finish up your pruning by giving your rose Shropshire Lad a fresh layer of mulch to start off the new season.
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