The Pilgrim roses were first bred prior to 1991 in the United Kingdom by David Austin. If you do not know who David Austin is, well then you are probably new to the joy of growing roses. David Austin is one of the world’s premier rose hybridizers who is based in the UK. This particular rose was created by crossing the rose Graham Thomas with the Yellow Button rose. The result is a pale yellow shrub rose that can easily be trained to become a climbing rose.
The rose The Pilgrim will grow nice and tall if properly trained, reaching heights of 10 feet tall at full maturity. It also will grow up to 5 feet wide so this is one rose that you will need to do a little space planning with if you want to let it grow big. The blooms on this rose are somewhat small, staying around 3 inches or less in diameter. These petals will be quite full however, carrying upwards of 40 petals or more per bloom. You will also be rewarded with a very mild tea fragrance with these blooms.
Growing the rose The Pilgrim is not all that hard and it is much like growing other types of roses. The most important decision you will have to make is where in your garden you ultimately decide to grow it. Roses require a lot of sun light if you want them to perform at their best and this one is no exception to the rule. Try to select a location that gets no less than 6 to 8 hours each day of direct sunlight. If you can provide it with more, then that is even better.
You also are going to want to grow your The Pilgrim roses in soil that drains very well. This is a rather simple thing to do but I am often surprised at how many times I see growers overlook this particular point. If roses are not grown in well drained soil, they often become very weak and sickly, and they almost always will under-perform. One trip to your local garden center can take care of this however as there are plenty of soil mixes available on the market, many of which are designed just for roses.
Getting your rose The Pilgrim into the ground is fairly simple and most growers can get this part done easily with just a few basic hand tools. How you bought your roses however does determine a little, how you go about planting them. If you bought your roses locally, then chances are they were already established for you in a container. These are the easiest roses to plant. Dig your hole at least twice the diameter of the container and equally as deep. This will keep the bud union at its original planting depth while giving you plenty of room around the roots for your soil mix.
If you bought your The Pilgrim roses online, then there is a pretty good chance they may have shipped them to you as bareroot plants. You should first soak these overnight in a bucket of room temperature water, prior to planting day. Then dig your hole as wide as the longest roots 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 The Pilgrim 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 very heavily until it flows around the roots like mud. You can then finish filling the hole the rest of the way. Give the soil one more heavy watering and be sure to top off any settling that might occur, but do not tamp down the soil. This method should make sure that you do not get air pockets around the roots.
Taking care of the rose The Pilgrim is not a tough task and if you have any past experience growing roses, then you really should not find this one to be much of a challenge. You will obviously 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 about one deep watering per week. If your climate is hot and or dry, then you should check on your roses every 4 to 5 days.
You should consider giving your The Pilgrim roses a dose of a granulated all-purpose fertilizer in the very early spring when the leaves begin to open. This will help get your roses off to a great start on the season. Like most of David Austin’s creations, this one is also a repeat bloomer, which means it will do well with a few additional feedings over the course of the growing season. I will usually give my roses their second feeding as soon as they have finished the first big bloom, then a third feeding sometime around the middle of the summer to encourage late season flushed. Your rose The Pilgrim should do very nicely on this schedule also.
You should prune the rose The Pilgrim in the very early spring when the weather starts to warm but before the leaves have opened up. This will make pruning much easier for you. Start by removing all the dead and discolored wood from the plant and set your cuttings aside. Next, prune back any overlapping lateral canes because these will eventually compete for sun light. 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 Pilgrim roses to get rid of all the debris that often collects there. Throw this material away in the trash, along with your cuttings. Never let dead matter lay around your roses as it can turn into a breeding ground for various pests and diseases. Finish up your pruning by giving your rose The Pilgrim a fresh new layer of mulch to start off the growing season.
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