ROSES are Britain’s favourite plant, according to a new poll – but they are also on our most hated list.
Some 7,500 people voted online to establish the nation’s gardening loves and hates in the inaugural Gardeners’ World Awards 2009.
Roses topped the poll as the most loved plant, but also the most hated.
While some loved the variety of appealing scents and styles, a long flowering season and an iconic image of romance, others damned them for “all those prickles and overblown blossoms”.
Roses can also be plagued by aphids and blackspot, and can demand high maintenance. So how can we turn our most hated plant into one that we will all love and cherish?
Adam Pasco, editor of BBC Gardeners’ World magazine, insists that choosing roses is a very personal thing, and that someone else’s taste may not be yours.
“Don’t tar all roses with the same brush. Just because some roses don't appeal doesn’t mean there aren’t others out there you’ll love,” he says.
“There are roses to suit every style and taste. Look further than those in local garden centres to discover the rich and diverse range available from specialist rose nurseries.”
Names play a big part in rose appeal, he believes.
“Dozens of new varieties join old favourites each year, but those we love tend to have names that are personal.
“Their name is often as important as colour, shape and form, so search around for roses with names that really mean something to you.”
If you want roses with real flower power, choose repeat-flowering varieties that bloom again and again, right through to the autumn.
“For many people, a rose without scent simply isn’t worth growing,” Pasco advises. “While cut blooms in supermarkets often smell of nothing, those being bred for our gardens offer stunning fragrance to die for.”
Roses used to have a reputation for being high-maintenance and demanding a time-consuming regular care regime, but now there are many new types on the market which simply don’t need as much looking after.
“Times have changed and we now want roses that stay healthy naturally, without the need for regular sprays of fungicides to control blackspot and rust,” Pasco explained.
“Once again the rose breeders have come to the rescue, and modern roses are usually far healthier than old varieties.”