Train a Climbing Rose
This summer, when you find yourself with nothing to do, consider pruning your climbing roses. I have seen unruly roses, left unchecked, grab people by the hair, ensnare unwary children and block homeowners from their front doors.
One of the worst distractions to an otherwise beautiful garden is visual chaos created by an improperly or untrained climbing rose. Where they can casually weep from fences or mound over themselves, they don’t require hours of laborious training. But if you want to embellish architectural features such as trellises, arbors, arches or pergolas, tastefully trained roses are important.
In short, we must harness the rose and not let the rose harness us. Canes that are unruly, old and unproductive or simply excessive should be removed. Those that remain should be woven closely on and through the structure. Advantageously, manipulating the canes encourages blooms.
A little tough love will also give you the pretty trellis or arbor you envisioned. Be diligent, even ruthless, to keep structures tidy.
Think of training and thinning as part of the purchase price of a climbing rose — an ongoing expense, at least in hours. If you’ve planted equal numbers of climbing and shrub roses, plan for the climbers to need 95 percent of your training, pruning and shaping time.
Are they worth all that? Absolutely. Climbers are breathtaking in ways shrubs can’t be, the cover girls of the garden, dripping with drama and emotion.
About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. His new book is Empress of the Garden. Visit his company’s Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses. To order roses online, visit www.weAREroses.com.