Cul­ti­va­tion

Gardens Illustrated Magazine - - TRAVEL -

Hip-bear­ing roses should not be pruned un­til Jan­uary, or un­til the hips have nat­u­rally with­ered. Whether climbers, ram­blers or bushes, how­ever, all should be trained us­ing the same prin­ci­ple – a tech­nique of pulling the long, sup­ple wands of growth down in an arc and an­chor­ing them in po­si­tion. The rea­son for bend­ing the shoots hor­i­zon­tally is to pre­vent the sap from sim­ply ris­ing to the top of each stem; in­stead, flow­ers will be en­cour­aged to break out from ev­ery joint. The ba­sic prin­ci­ples of re­mov­ing dead, dis­eased, weak and cross­ing growth ap­ply, and all of the re­main­ing shoots should be short­ened by about a third. A pro­por­tion of the older wood should be re­moved com­pletely to en­cour­age strong growth shoots from the base. The aim is to form a frame­work with a bal­ance be­tween flow­er­ing wood and growth wood. The harder you prune and the less you bend, the more ex­ten­sion growth you’ll get. Shoots bent hor­i­zon­tally will be stud­ded with flow­ers, fol­lowed by hips, along their en­tire length. To make the most of the hips, stop dead­head­ing by mid-Au­gust to al­low suf­fi­cient time for the flow­ers that fol­low to set fruits.

I am in­creas­ingly com­fort­able with the idea of al­low­ing each gar­den space to have a sin­gle glo­ri­ous mo­ment, whether in flower, form or fruit. This rise and fall pro­vides a nat­u­ral rhythm in tune with the sea­son and with the land.

The suc­cess of this phi­los­o­phy re­lies on lav­ish plant­ing and a fo­cus on the given mo­ment. Although the dis­play at Siss­inghurst de­pends chiefly on the rose flower, I eke out the sea­son of in­ter­est by se­lect­ing roses for the bril­liance of their hips as well as the beauty of their flow­ers. The pe­riod of splen­dour is so much longer in hip than in flower.

Planted on the fringe of wood­land or at the back of a wide bor­der where they are al­lowed to grow tall and floppy, the pretty, del­i­cate fo­liage of the roses mixes well with other shrubs, and their hips add colour at a time when many plants are look­ing dull. Roses also make good hosts: some clema­tis species, such as Clema­tis macropetala and Clema­tis alpina, can be planted to grace their gaunt stems early in the sea­son be­fore the roses have bro­ken leaf.

To my mind, the best way to grow roses is to en­cour­age long trails of blos­som, and later, chains of hips, to cas­cade down­wards from a higher place. Trees such as an­cient ap­ples, pen­cil cy­presses or pines are good com­pan­ions for roses, whereas those with large leaves, such as Mag­no­lia or Catalpa, might be less suit­able. Try ty­ing the roses in to a suit­able tree at about 2-3m, and then al­low the shoots to grow out­wards and down­wards. Plant 60cm from the trunk to al­low for root growth, and sup­port the new rose canes dur­ing the first cou­ple of years.

Gar­den de­signer Gertrude Jekyll grew Rosa ‘The Gar­land’ foam­ing over shrubs, and rose ex­pert Gra­ham Stu­art Thomas sug­gested grow­ing roses on a wall, al­low­ing the growth to fall for­ward, cov­er­ing the plant with a sheet of bloom and later hips. The op­tions are end­less.

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