July is traditionally the month we spend budding roses. We plant approx 40,000 rootstocks each March (mainly Rosa laxa but also some Rosa multiflora), which by July have established well and grown into small bushy plants. Budding is the name given to the process of inserting a small bud of the variety you want to grow into a T – shaped cut at the base of the rootstock plant. This will then grow away, and you can cut off the top-growth of the rootstock, to leave a plant with the roots of the stock, and the top-growth of the desired variety.
Like almost every other nursery in the UK, we mainly use R. laxa – it is a superb general purpose rootstock for use in the UK, as it is very hardy, rarely suckers and lives a long time. For a few of the exhibition varieties we have started budding onto R. multiflora, as they produce more flowers over a longer season, but they are shorter lived – a rose on this rootstock will only last about 8 – 10 years.
The weather so far hasn’t been too bad – if any spot of moisture gets behind the bud before the wrapping tie is put on, the bud will die, so they have been dodging the showers on occasion. This year is certainly a far cry from some of the years when they have opted to start work at 5am to finish early and miss working in scorching heat!
Our team of highly-skilled nurserymen aim to bud 1000 roses each per day. It’s back-breaking work, but it’s a job they actually look forward to each year – the chance to start another cycle of cropping. Plants budded now will be grown on for a year, and then will be available as bare-rooted plants as from November 2013.
Our Field Manager, Steve Dawson, demonstrates how to T bud a rose: