Rose perfumes are the fragrance equivalent of the little black dress.
Rose perfumes are the fragrance equivalent of the little black dress.

South Africa will host Rosafrica, the World Rose Show, in October next year.

The show includes an international convention as well as a series of rose shows which will be open to the public across South Africa.

The World Rose Show is held every three years under the auspices of the World Federation of Rose Societies (WFRS), which represents more than 100 000 rose lovers in 41 member countries.

South Africa’s Sheenagh Harris is the world president of the WFRS and is also the local head of Rosafrica 2012 organising committee.

Hundreds of international delegates are expected to flock to the country.

The convention includes a host of pre- and post-tours (October 4 to 18) to the Sunday Tribune Garden and Leisure Show, the Pilansberg Game Reserve, a World Rose Show exhibition in Sandton (October 11 to 14), the Bloemfontein Rose Show and various smaller rose exhibitions in the Western Cape (see www.rosafrica2012.co.za).

Roses in January

While you contemplate how you can get involved in next year’s World Rose Show, it is worth remembering that late January is a great time to prune your roses.

It is the month of destiny for roses. A light prune or groom in late January will determine the quality of the stems and blooms between now and the first big rains of winter.

Although the aim of pruning is always to encourage longer stems with larger blooms, summer rose pruning is quite different to winter pruning.

Cut back to thigh height may be the advice given in July, but pruning in January is a far subtler affair.

January pruning

Start by cleaning up the centre of the bush, but avoid removing branches that provide shade to the inner bush.

Cut away smaller twigs and remove one stem from forked branches.

Trim back tall bushes and deadhead spent flower blooms.

Although this may appear to be a simple procedure, the success of pruning in January is determined by your ability to encourage and train growth, rather than upset the bush.

How can you upset a rose bush? Quite easily actually.

In mid-summer, roses are actively growing so any major disturbance in sap flow will have dire consequences. The key to pruning success at this time of the year is to make sure that the lower section of the bushes, or main water-carrying stems, are protected by a canopy of leaves. If the hot midday sun is allowed to reach these stems it will cause scorching. This will in turn cause sunburn - purple black blotches - resulting in secondary diseases and eventually in die-back.

Once you have pruned, make sure that your rose is placed back on to a regime of fertilising, watering and mulching. To maintain growth after pruning, sprinkle a handful of rose fertiliser granules (or 8:1:5) around each bush.

Water regularly and deeply. This might mean watering once a week or switching on a micro sprinkler on twice a week. Replenish mulch so your rose roots are protected from the midday sun.

Late-flowering roses

If you plan to add roses to your garden this summer, consider mixing early and late flowering varieties in your borders as this stretches the excitement in your garden. Late flowering rose varieties will carry on performing until the autumn and will even flower through to winter. Late-flowering varieties include Esther Geldenhuys, Leana, Yankee Doodle, Flower Power, and White Sunsation.