California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Climbing Roses

For some purposes there is no plant better suited than a climbing rose. They are flexible enough to be trained onto a fence or wall. They are often extremely fragrant. Some are enthusiastic enough to leap up onto the roof. The one drawback is that with all of that growth and enthusiasm there is the winter pruning hangover. There is just a lot of rose to be pruned. And to get the best bloom much of it is left up for the next season. I try to rotate out old canes after about 3 years. With a big rose like Belle of Portugal this can become a nightmarish task. And it is critical that the support structure is adequate to hold the monster suspended where you want it to be. I pulled an inadequately attached trellis off a wall and 2 stories of rose with it while trying to prune a Belle of Portugal this last winter. It was not a pretty sight. Fortunately a table supported the rose when I dropped to the ground and I had my trusty pruners with me. I was able to carve myself a path out from under the rose. There was only a little blood. I try to leave the new canes as long as possible, and strip the leaves. When the rose is spread out it will produce roses at almost every bud. The show can be awe-inspiring.

Ballerina
Belle of Portugal
Kathleen
Kathleen Harrop
Leander
Marjorie Fair
Reine des Violettes
Sally Holmes
Shot Silk
Zepherine Drouhin

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Last modified: August 11, 2013