Windermere roses resemble antique roses with their soft, rounded shape and romantic, cream color. The bush is compact, growing to a maximum of 3 feet in height. The stems are long and the fragrance is heavenly. Bred by noted rosarian David Austin, the Windermere is a shrub rose that tolerates zone 5 winters with no problem.
Cut back overhanging tree limbs and vegetation from within a 3-foot radius of the Windermere rose shrub. Air circulation is important, especially in the humid summers in some areas of zone 5, as it helps prevent fungus spores from germinating.
Provide the Windermere rose with four to six hours of sun per day. Morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal.
Add a fresh 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of the Windermere rose shrub each spring. Keep the mulch 2 inches away from the plant and spread it out to the tips of the widest branches. Mulch will help protect the shrub's roots in the cold zone 5 winters and keeps the soil moist in the heat of the summer.
Water the Windermere rose when the top 3 inches of soil is dry. Water more frequently during dry or windy periods. A soaker hose or drip irrigation is preferable as it will supply the water slowly and deeply. Overhead watering is not recommended in zone 5 as wet foliage is susceptible to fungal infections.
Fertilize the Windermere rose during the growing season with 5-10-5 fertilizer at the rate suggested on the package. Apply the fertilizer to the soil, spread out to the drip zone (the area at the tips of the widest part of the shrub) and water it in to a depth of 3 inches.
Winterize the Windermere rose shrub by mounding garden soil up around the lower canes. In the spring, remove the soil. Another method of protection, in very cold areas, is to place a tomato cage over the shrub and stuff leaves around it and on top of it. If the shrub is too large for the cage, create your own cage by wrapping chicken wire around it and securing the ends with twisted wire.
Protect the Windermere rose shrub from fungus in the summer, when it's humid. Spray the plant every two weeks with a fungicide recommended for black spot on roses, at the rate recommended on the packaging. The experts at David Austin Roses recommend that you spray both the top and the undersides of the leaves and to spray on a day when no rain is expected.
Prune the Windermere rose bush in spring when the buds just begin to appear. Remove all dead and damaged wood by cutting them back to their points of origin. Cut the entire shrub back to half its size, creating a rounded form. Don't worry about harming the rose as you prune, suggests the specialists at David Austin Roses. They also state that pruning procedures for the Windermere rose aren't precise and that the each grower's tastes should be the touchstone when pruning.