Autumn Roses

These beautiful blooms are Stewart Coles' pride and joy and being the state champion for two years running, you could say he knows the secret to growing the perfect rose.

So what are your tips to growing really good roses?

Stewart says "Always water in the morning. Don't water at night. Don't leave moisture in your rose garden overnight because that only encourages these fungal type diseases." and a good fertiliser always helps.

So if people are picking roses for mother's day, how do we get them to last longer?"

"This is what I do - into a bucket of water I put a cup of sugar, half a cup of vinegar and a little teaspoon full of king bleach. So you cut the rose straight into the bucket and then you put the bucket in the garage or shed where the light is either dull or its dark and you leave them there for 2-3 hours." After that Stewart reckons mum's roses should last at least a week in a vase.

Over in Hamersley, fellow competitor Lee Van Boheemen proves you don't need much space to have a beautiful display.

Most of his flowers are in pots, "the good thing about growing roses in pots is they can be moved around."

How can we grow roses in pots successfully?

"You've got to start off with a good potting mix and then I used to buy them in the small pots and build them up but that was a waste of time. So then I just bought a big pot and put the small one right in the middle."

Lee's got all sorts of roses growing in his little garden - from the City of Newcastle, to the Marilyn Monroe - and he treats them with a lot of TLC. "I was told once by a very good rosarian overeast that he actually changes his roses every year. Now, there's no way I'm going to do that. So about 4 years for me. I pull them out and cut the roots around and then put them in a nice potting mix again and away we go."

So to get the perfect bloom this autumn.

It's best to water your roses in the morning, to reduce the risk of fungal problems.

Twice a week is enough for most garden beds but check pots daily so they don't dry out.

When trimming old flowers - only cut down to the second or third set of leaves and fertilise little but often.

So what's the pick of the bunch for this mother's day? Stewart says you can't go past "Red Intuition".

www.wa.rose.org.au