They are the quintessential English plant, with unrivalled fragrance, beauty and variety of colours, shapes and sizes.
Little wonder, then, that many gardeners are baffled as to when to actually prune their roses to ensure a flurry of gorgeous flowers in the summer and beyond.
The best time to prune autumn and winter-planted roses and established bushes is early spring, when growth is just beginning and the uppermost buds are swelling but no leaves have appeared.
The traditional method involves cutting out all dead wood and diseased or damaged stems, removing branches which are rubbing against each other and aiming for an open-centred bush.
Then cut out all unripe stems - if the thorns bend or tear rather than snapping off cleanly, the wood is unripe.
You should be left with about six key stems that define the shape of your rose bush. For hybrid teas, otherwise known as modern bush roses, cut back each of these stems by at least half. For other shrub roses, prune lightly so they don't become top heavy.
Also watch for suckers, vigorous growths which emerge from a point low down on the plant, close to the root system. If you leave them, they can choke the plant or reduce its vigour. Suckers are easy to identify because they have different leaves and growth habit. Just pull them off, as cutting encourages them, as does hoeing around the base.
If it's really cold, you can leave pruning as late as early April, which means that your plants will flower slightly later than usual, but at least the soft new growth won't have been damaged by frost.
Rose pruning isn't rocket science, as many gardeners have learned over the years.
Rose connoisseur Edward Enfield, father of comedian Harry Enfield and former member of the Royal National Rose Society, once told me of an experiment in which one group of rose bushes was pruned lightly, another group heavily and a third hacked with a hedge cutter - and those hacked off with the hedge cutter did the best.
He himself prunes twice - once in autumn, cutting out the deadwood and spindly growths and shortening the main stems to stop windrock, then again in March, cutting to an outward eye where a group of leaves join the stem.
Hard pruning, when stems are cut back to three or four buds from the base, is recommended for newly planted rose bushes, while moderate pruning, where stems are cut back to about half their length, is advised for hybrid tea bushes growing in ordinary soils.
If you don't have time to prune, but love roses, consider investing in some ground cover or patio roses which will just need a tidy-up in spring.
Whatever you do, don't forget to prune your roses because the flowers grow at the tips of the stems, so if you don't shorten those stems the blooms will end up at the top of the plant where you can't see them, and the stems will just become a straggly maze of twiggy bits.
Best of the bunch - Narcissus (daffodil)
Many of us will already be admiring these bright spring blooms with early varieties including 'February Gold' and will go on enjoying them until the beginning of May if we have planted late-flowering types such as N. poeticus cultivars.
Daffodils are the flowers synonymous with spring and if you don't like the tall, gaudy yellows of old, then there are many softer, more subtle varieties suitable for both beds and pots, naturalised in lawns or under trees and shrubs. If you want a burst of colour in your spring pots, go for varieties such as N. 'Tete-a-tete' and 'Jenny', which will withstand some pretty harsh weather.
Daffodils should be planted in autumn in any reasonable soil in a depth of three times the bulb's height. Planting too shallowly will encourage them to divide, producing more leaves than flowers. Make sure they have good drainage, adding sharp sand or horticultural grit on heavy soils. They like sun but their flowers will last longer in light shade.
Food enough to eat - Chard
With its impressive, colourful stems in shades of red, pink, yellow, white and orange, this iron-rich vegetable is a must for salads or the stems can be cooked with the leaves when small.
It's related to spinach but is much easier to grow and looks striking as an ornamental plant for containers or borders.
Chard should be sown in spring, but wait until April or it may bolt prematurely. Sow directly into containers, aiming for around six plants in a 10ltr pot, or grow individual plants in a 4ltr pot. Each seed produces a clump of seedlings which can be thinned out later.
For border plants, sow the seeds in pots and transplant them later into fertile, moist soil, as you would bedding plants, allowing a 30cm space for each plant.
In summer, water it once a week and keep picking the young leaves of chard for salads or cooking. Spring-sown chard should survive over winter and provide a couple of pickings in spring and early summer before bolting.
Good varieties include 'Bright Lights', a mixture of seven coloured stalks, from red to orange and yellow, whose leaves make an acceptable spinach. It's ideal for the ornamental border or patio.
Three ways to... Boost acid-loving plants
1. Use ericaceous compost when planting.
2. Mix up coffee grounds, tea leaves and tea bags, which have a high acidic content, to make good mulches for rhododendrons and other acid-loving plants.
3. If you have conifers, use the needles as a mulch for acid-loving plants, to provide the conditions they favour.
What to do this week
Give overwintered brassicas a high-nitrogen feed at the start of the growing season.
In mild areas, sow short rows of early carrots for a succession of baby carrots in the summer.
Cut back newly planted deciduous hedges of leggy plants such as hawthorn and privet.
If sharp frosts are forecast, protect susceptible shrubs and trees by wrapping them in horticultural fleece or netting. Silver or grey-leaved plants such as cistus, halimium and the Californian poppy are at risk.
Layer shrubs with low branches, either into pots or directly into the soil at the base of the parent plant, adding some compost to help retain moisture.
Increase ground cover by digging up, dividing and replanting quick spreading shrubs such as Hypericum and periwinkle.
Feed flowering greenhouse plants with a high potash feed like tomato fertiliser.
Thin hardy annuals and vegetables sown in the open ground before they become overcrowded and compete with each other for light and nutrients.
Prune any overhanging hedges, trees or shrubs that are encroaching on borders and will cast too much shade on most plants beneath.
Plant hippeastrums in pots for late spring flowering, keeping them in a warm, humid atmosphere and watering sparingly until the buds appear.
Plant 'De Caen' and 'Saint Brigid' anemones for flowering during the summer.
Take hardwood cuttings of hardy climbers including jasmine and honeysuckle, choosing stems from wood grown the previous year.