Good Gardening with Mark Curtis: November 2019

01/11/19 News

Now is a good time to look at the garden and consider the three ‘R's. First up are the new season roses. The gorgeous floribunda (multiple blooms on each stem) ‘Burgundy Ice' is a beautiful mutation of the Iceberg rose, but with a deep rich purple and a light scent it’ll grow to at least 3ft tall.
Another favourite are the burnished tones of ‘Hot Chocolate', rose of the year 2006. Carrying a rich ‘old rose’ fragrance and that smokey hot chocolate colour it naturally has the Award of Garden Merit from the RHS. ‘Eyes for you', the light double lilac bloom with a dark centre blotch is another popular choice. Bred from the native Rosa persica from Iran and Afghanistan, by the English rose breeder Peter James, who incidentally also bred that other favourite, ‘Blue for you'.
Bare-rooted raspberry canes arrive now – you might want to consider ‘Joan J’, originally bred to rival the popular ‘Autumn Bliss’ variety.
Self-supporting and prickleless, another good variety ‘Glen Ample’, has a high crop yield and is therefore suitable for container growing, if you haven't got a suitable patch for them. A mid season variety with an Award of Garden Merit. If you can, pick your raspberries and eat them fresh – Glen Magna has an excellent flavour and is a vigorous grower.
Finally, you wouldn't have sat your three ‘R's without the spring promise of a Rhododendron. These make great presents for Autumn birthdays, through the Christmas period to the early part of the year, when they will be resplendent with flower. One of my favourites is Germania, a lovely rose pink variety – this will make a decent size shrub of 4-5ft after about 10 years, but if you are on chalk or you are unsure what soil your gift will be planted in, it will be safer to go for a dwarf or Yakushimum variety to grow in a pot. ‘Surrey Heath' would also make a handsome choice.

Mark Curtis
Plant Manager, Tates of Sussex

For more gardening tips for the month, please visit