Romance of roses
Ruth Goudy sorts ramblers from climbers
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.
PESTS & DISEASES
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!