Mulching is a mysterious subject and quite often the views of gardeners differ on what is best. The science of soil is that what works in one part of the country may be quite different in another. You start then to go far too technical for my limited gardening time.

My purpose is not so much to be the ‘expert’ but to explain how my mulches work for me and the results I get in my garden.

There are essentially two parts to a mulch and in my view three. There we go I am at odds with thousands of gardeners now!
Slightly different methods are used in agriculture and I am speaking about Roses.

The Roots

The most important thing is to plant well to ensure the roots can breathe and get nourishment.

I always use Mycorrhizal Fungi to develop good roots and is a natural way to grow strong plants. The fungi work with the plant in a symbiotic relationship; the fungi take sugars from the plant and give back nutrients and moisture, the most valuable being phosphorus which helps the development of good roots.

I have also been using Richard Jacksons Root Booster that contains Mycorrhizal Fungi and additionally naturally occurring Humates. These Humates are naturally occurring mineral deposits of organic matter made over thousands of years and a great fertiliser for plants. It also contains feed.

Layer 1

Around the base of the plant I use slow releasing plant feed. David Austin has a really good natural fertiliser that slow releases. It is not always available and I have been using Richard Jacksons ‘Easy Feed’. I have had astonishing results using Richard Jacksons products. Secondly, I used seaweed granules at this level to slowly feed into the roots. Seaweed is both a fertiliser and natural tonic, It helps chlorophyll production and plant growth hormones that help both the roots and branches.

Layer 2

Consists of really good compost mixed four compost to one topsoil with one good pine bark chippings that I put through the garden shredder to make them fine. I measure using a 750 gram tub for precision and 100 grams of Seaweed granules mixed up and cover the base of the plant with 5 cm of this concoction. What it does is to leach and rot down to the roots over the season. Roses will grow anywhere if fed well from above into the roots. This year I am putting 3 bags of ground fresh garlic per barrow of compost mulch. Garlic helps keep aphids and fungal diseases at bay, is said to improve fragrance and the size of the blooms.

Layer 3

The top the layer is either Pine Nuggets, Gravel or even slate chippings. I have a large gravelled area and purely randomly after a visit to David Austin I had two extra roses and nowhere to put them. So I dug two big deep holes in the gravel and planted them there. They have thrived with good planting technique and annual mulching. I now have 6 roses in the gravel area all doing extremely well.
Both gravel and Pine nuggets act to retain moisture in the soil and protect the roots from the winter frosts. The bark gradually rots and adds to the feeding process

Steps To Mulching Well

  1. Clear any dead or diseased leaves from the surface
  2. Rake back any existing mulch about 12 inches around the base
  3. Apply the compost layer
  4. Replace the gravel or bark and top up with fresh material

Products I Use

David Austin Mycorrhizal Fungi – Rose Food, Sprays, Compost – Rose & Garden Accessories

Buy David Austin Mycorrhizal Fungi from David Austin. Our Accessories have been expertly chosen for their quality and practicality by our rose experts.

David Austin

Root Booster – Richard Jackson Garden

Formulated from 3 special ingredients and 100% natural, Root Booster can help you grow healthier, bigger and better plants.

Root Booster

David Austin Rose Food – Rose Food, Sprays, Compost – Rose & Garden Accessories

Buy David Austin Rose Food from David Austin. Our Accessories have been expertly chosen for their quality and practicality by our rose experts.

Easy Feed Slow Release Plant Food 750g – Richard Jackson Garden

Feeding your plants simply couldn’t be easier – just add Easy Feed at planting time, or to established containers, and the granules gradually release Flower Power nutrients for up to 6 months!

Equimins Straight Herbs Seaweed – Equimins

Contains minerals and trace elements. Adds lustre to the coat and can help improve hoof condition.

Equimins Straight Herbs Seaweed


Mycorrhizal fungi / RHS Gardening

Mycorrhizas are fungal associations between plant roots and beneficial fungi. The fungi effectively extend the root area of plants and are extremely important to most wild plants, but less significant for garden plants where the use of fertilisers and cultivation disrupts and replaces these associations.

Mycorrhizal fungi

Gardening experts spray roses with essence of GARLIC for extra growth | Daily Mail Online

It’s been a good year for the roses down at the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden in Surrey. Just take a look at these magnificent blooms, which have grown to twice their normal size.

Garlic spray

Seaweed – A Mystery and a Miracle for Plants

Carolyn Elgar Master Rosarian, Orange County Rose Society Roses & You, June 2020 Want to give your rose garden a real treat? Give it a dose of seaweed and it will benefit in many ways, including some we don’t know much about. Your rose bushes will flourish and reward you with increased healthy growth. Seaweed has been used for food and fertilizer for hundreds of years. Particularly in areas with easy access to ocean beaches, such as Japan and China, seaweed was spread throughout the garden as a

Seaweed article

Posted by Jason Richards

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