The Rose Garden

Monday, February 11th, 2008 by Jenny Watts
    • Blueberries are a delicious fruit that can be planted now from bare-root plants. Give them a rich, acid bed prepared with lots of peat moss.
    • Plant seeds of broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and other spring vegetables now.
    • Spray for peach leaf curl with copper sulfate. Peach and nectarine trees may suffer from this fungus disease without a protective spray.
    • Plant strawberries now for delicious strawberry shortcake this summer.
    • It’s bare root season, which means you can save money on fruit trees and roses by planting them now. A wide selection is now available.

Training Climbing Roses

Roses give more color in the garden than any other shrub. Climbing roses will brighten up a wall or fence all summer long. Here are some basic tips for growing them.

Climbers can be planted now from bare root roses or any time during the growing season from potted plants. Any structure that will be supporting the rose should be in place before planting. Angle the canes toward the support.

Young climbers, under 2 or 3 years old, should be pruned as little as possible, or not at all. In the first year, a climber will send up 2 or 3 long canes and more in succeeding years. These canes will be left long, not pruned each year. The side shoots that come off these long canes are the flower producers and they will be cut back each year to 2 or 3 buds.

If there is poor branching, the main canes can be tipped to encourage strong side branches to develop, which will become part of the main framework. When old, weak canes need to be removed, cut back to a healthy shoot or bud at the base. This will encourage the growth of a new cane to replace the one removed.

Climbing roses are generally broken down into two categories, once-blooming and repeat-blooming. Once-blooming roses bloom gloriously, but only once a year in the spring, and they bloom on wood from the previous year. Prune these roses right after flowering is finished. Repeat-blooming climbers are pruned in the winter or very early spring when the plants are dormant.

Climbing roses do not really climb. They have no means of supporting themselves, so they must be tied to a fence or a trellis. The most basic method for training them is in a fan pattern. Train the outer stems as near to the horizontal as possible, then fan out the other canes to fill in the rest of the fan shape. Tie them loosely to the support to allow for thickening of the stems.

Arches look lovely clothed with roses. For even coverage, plant a rose at the base of each side. Train them on the outside by fanning out the main stems to cover the width of the arch.

Pergolas (tunnels made out of latticework) are designed for a display of flowers higher up. Plant a rose at each post. Roses can be trained to grow up the post and then horizontally over the cross beams. So prune the side shoots to push the growth upwards, then let the rose branch naturally over the top. Or you can train roses with flexible stems to spiral up the posts.

Climbing roses produce hundreds of flowers every summer bringing pleasure and beauty to the garden.