Ro­mance of roses

Ruth Goudy sorts ram­blers from climbers

EADT Suffolk - - INSIDE -

Climbers or ram­blers? One of the most com­mon ques­tions at Kiln Farm Nurs­ery is ‘What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween a climb­ing rose and a ram­bling rose?’ It’s sim­ple. A climber ‘climbs’ and a ram­bler ‘scram­bles’.

In my mind’s eye, I pic­ture beau­ti­ful roses over a coun­try cot­tage door. Even if you do not have the cot­tage, you can still have a rose arch or trel­lis by a door, over a path­way, or just as a fea­ture in the gar­den. It takes some thought, though.

As a ram­bler ‘scram­bles’ it looks looser and freer, and will very quickly cover the arch. The roses are of­ten in boughs of seven which are smaller and gen­er­ally only flower once a year. A climber be­haves more like a flori­bunda or hy­brid tea. The roses are usu­ally larger, more or­na­men­tal and fra­grant but they are slower grow­ing and need to be pruned, trained and tied in, to sup­port their solid stems. Their ad­van­tage is that they flower re­peat­edly over the sum­mer, as long as you keep dead­head­ing.

Ram­bling roses are good for cov­er­ing places you want to hide such as old tree stumps, tanks or fences. They have a more nat­u­ral look and, be­ing a Suf­folk farm girl, I pre­fer it. My ab­so­lute favourite is the wild Rosa Can­ina, which grows in hedgerows. The sin­gle, pale pink flower with yel­low sta­mens has mag­i­cal, peace­ful and joy­ful prop­er­ties for me.


Black spot and rust both af­fect the leaves. Black spot is black or brown spots on the leaves, which give up and fall early. Rust turns leaves yel­low and causes yel­low swellings on the un­der­side which turn to brown blotches. Both are un­sightly but not ‘fa­tal’. Pre­ven­tion in­volves keep­ing the rose wa­tered, feed­ing reg­u­larly, and prun­ing so that air cir­cu­lates around the plant. If you see signs prune all af­fected leaves, col­lect any on the ground at the base of the plant and dis­pose of them (not on the com­post heap). Aphids are tiny green in­sects that smother the un­der­side of leaves and buds, chok­ing the plant. You can use in­sec­ti­cides but try spray­ing them with wa­ter with a touch of wash­ing up liq­uid. Aphids are a feast for la­dy­birds, a nat­u­ral pes­ti­cide!

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