St Swithun Roses

History of St Swithun Roses:

St Swithun roses were first bred in 1993 in the United Kingdom by David Austin.  David is widely regarded as one of the leading hybridizers of roses and he specializes in old English shrub and climbing roses.  This rose was created by crossing the rose Mary Rose, with an offspring of the Chaucer and Conrad Ferdinand Meyer roses.  The result is a very light pink rose that has a mild fragrance of citrus.

The blooms on the rose St Swithun will reach an average diameter of about 3 inches and they will be extremely full, which is typical of most of David’s roses, having upwards of 120 or more petals per bloom.  The plant will grow about 5 feet tall at full maturity with a width of just a little less than its height.  This is a great rose for cut flower arrangements and its shorter stature makes it a candidate for container growing on your porch or patio.  The rose St Swithun will do quite well in zones 5 through 10.

Growing St Swithun Roses:

Growing the rose St Swithun is not all that difficult and if you have any past experience growing roses then you really should not find this one to be all that challenging.  The biggest choice that you will make in the life of your roses is where in your garden you ultimately decide to grow them.  Roses will need a lot of sun light if you want them to perform at their best and this variety is no exception.  Try to pick a spot in your garden that gets no less than 6 to 8 hours each day of direct sun light, but more is even better.

You also are going to want to grow your St Swithun roses in soil that drains very well.  This is a rather simple thing to do but it is surprising at how many growers overlook this very important aspect of rose growing.  All you need to do is take a trip to your local garden center and pick up a bag or two of a good soil mix that is specifically designed for growing roses.  This will take much of the guesswork out of it for you and your rose St Swithun will thank you for it.

Planting St Swithun Roses:

Getting your rose St Swithun into the ground is not hard and most growers can get this job done well with just a few basic hand tools.  How you go about planting does depend a little bit on how you purchased your roses.  If you bought one from a local nursery, then chances are it already came planted in a container and ready to go.  These are the easiest roses to plant.  Dig your hole at least twice the diameter of the container it came in and equally as deep.  This will give you ample room around the roots for your soil mix while still keeping the bud union at its original depth.

If you bought your St Swithun roses online, then they may have shipped them to you as bareroot plants which is not at all uncommon. You should first soak the roots of these overnight in a bucket of room temperature water, prior to planting day.  Then dig your hole as wide as the longest roots on the plant 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 below the surface once planted.

Once you have your rose St Swithun set in place, spread all the roots out in all directions and then back fill the hole at least halfway to start, using your soil mix.  Take the garden hose and water the loose soil heavily until it flows all over the roots like mud.  Then you can go ahead and finish filling the hole.  Give the soil one last heavy watering and top off any final settling, but do not tamp down the soil.  This method should make sure that you don’t get air pockets around the roots.

Caring for St Swithun Roses:

Taking care of the rose St Swithun is pretty straight forward 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 ample water and nutrients while taking care not to overdo it.  For most climates this usually amounts to one deep watering per week.  If your region is hot and dry, then you should check on your roses every 4 to 5 days to be safe.

You also should consider giving your roses a dose of a granular fertilizer in the spring when the leaves begin to open.  This will give your roses a great start to the season.  Like most of David’s creations, this one is a repeat bloomer so it will do nicely with a few additional feedings over the growing season.  I will give my roses their second feeding right after they finish the first big bloom and a third feeding around the middle of the summer to encourage late season flushes.  Your rose St Swithun should do nicely on thi schedule as well.

Pruning St Swithun Roses:

You should prune the rose St Swithun in the late winter or early spring when the weather starts to warm but before the leaves have started to open.  This will make the task of pruning so much easier.  Start by removing all the dead and discolored wood from the plant and set your cuttings aside.  Next, prune back any overlapping lateral canes from the plant so they 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 current which will help promote new growth.

This is also the best time to clean up around the base of your St Swithun roses and get rid of any debris that may have collected there from the previous season.  Throw all of this material away in the trash along with your cuttings.  Never let dead matter lay around your roses or it can quickly turn into a breeding ground for pests and diseases.  Finish up your pruning by giving your rose St Swithun a fresh new layer of mulch to start off the growing season.

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St Swithun Roses
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