The Dark Lady roses were first bred prior to 1991 in the United Kingdom by David Austin. David Austin has blessed the world with a great many creations. He specializes in old English shrub roses, as well as climbing varieties, and you will find his wonderful roses in gardens around the world! This particular rose was created by crossing the Prospero rose with the rose Mary Rose. The result is a nice dark red rose that has a modest old rose fragrance.
The rose The Dark Lady produces blooms that are just over 3 inches in diameter and they will be extremely full, having as many as 140 petals each! The plant itself will grow to a typical height for a shrub rose, about 4 feet tall at full maturity with a spread of around 5 feet across. The rose The Dark Lady will do very well in zones 5 through 10 and no matter where you choose to grow it in your garden, it is certain to be one of your favorites!
Growing the rose The Dark Lady is not much different from other roses and if you have any past experience growing roses, then you should not find this one to be all that difficult. The biggest decision that you will make in the life of your roses is where in your garden that you choose to grow them. Roses require as much sun light as you can give them, if you want them to perform at their best, and this one is no exception. Try to select a location that gets no less than 6 to 8 hours each day of full sun.
You also will need to grow your The Dark Lady roses in soil that drains very well. Roses that are grown in poor soil tend to not only underperform, but they also often get weak and unhealthy. This is not a difficult thing to prevent however and it always amazes me at how often I see growers overlook this aspect of rose growing. If you take a trip to your local garden center, you will most likely see a wide range of soil mixes, some of which are designed specifically for roses. Choose the one that best suits your application and use that. Your rose The Dark Lady will thank you for it.
Getting your rose The Dark Lady into the ground is not hard and most growers can get the job done rather easily with just a few basic hand tools. How you go about planting your roses does depend just a little bit on how you originally purchased them. If you bought one locally, then chances are it was already 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 The Dark Lady 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. 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 or so below the surface once planted.
Once you have your rose The Dark Lady 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. Then take your garden hose and water the loose soil heavily until it flows around the roots like mud. You can then finish filling the hole the rest of the way. Give the loose soil one last heavy watering and be sure to top off any final settling that may occur. This method should make sure that no air pockets have formed around the roots.
Taking care of the rose The Dark Lady 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 enough water and nutrients while taking care not to over do it. For most climates this amounts to about one deep watering per week. If you live in a hot or dry region, then you should check on your roses every 4 to 5 days.
You should consider giving your The Dark Lady roses a dose of a granular all-purpose fertilizer in the early spring when the leaves begin 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 right after they have finished the first big bloom, then a third feeding sometime around the middle of the summer to encourage late season flushes. Your rose The Dark Lady should do nicely on this schedule as well.
You should prune the rose The Dark Lady in the late winter or early spring when the weather begins to warm but before the leaves have started to open. 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 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 The Dark Lady roses and get rid of any dead leaves and debris that might have accumulated there. Throw away all of this material in the trash along with your cuttings. Never let dead matter lay around your roses as it can easily turn into a breeding ground for various pests and diseases. Finish up your pruning by giving your rose The Dark Lady a fresh new layer of mulch to start off the growing season.
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