Country Gardens - - Design Notebook -

Port­land, Ore­gon-based fine gar­dener Laura Wis­dom, owner of Pleas­ant Views by Laura, has de­vel­oped a fool­proof ap­proach to car­ing for climb­ing roses. Ac­cord­ing to Wis­dom, the ap­peal of climb­ing roses is that they pro­duce more flow­ers on hor­i­zon­tal branches. “So I en­cour­age flower pro­duc­tion by train­ing or bend­ing new canes to the form of the ar­bor,” she says.

The largest cat­e­gory of mod­ern climb­ing roses con­tains tall-grow­ing ver­sions of shrub roses, likely to reach 8–12 feet. There are ramblers and hy­brid tea roses that can also be trained as climb­ing roses.

Some of Wis­dom’s advice for grow­ing lux­u­ri­ous drifts of roses over ar­bors in­cludes:

• Se­lect a sturdy struc­ture made of me­tal or wood that’s well-an­chored to a wall or has sta­ble foot­ings. Un­like vines that twine, climbers re­quire ty­ing and sup­port.

• Con­sider ar­bors with dou­ble arches and side brac­ing, which pro­vides ad­di­tional sta­bil­ity.

• In the fall, prune lat­eral side canes to 12 inches from the cen­tral cane.

• In late win­ter, trim back the side canes fur­ther, to 5–8 inches, re­mov­ing canes dam­aged by win­ter storms. “When I’m fin­ished prun­ing the rose, it looks like a se­ries of lit­tle antlers along the plant’s main scaf­fold around the arch,” Wis­dom says.

• As new canes emerge, train them along the arch, se­cur­ing sec­tions with jute twine. Do this when new canes are pli­able and not brit­tle.

• Be­cause roses typ­i­cally grow to­ward the sun, you may need to train some canes to­ward the shadier side of an ar­bor in or­der to en­cour­age a bal­anced ap­pear­ance. “I bend new canes along both sides and tie them to the ar­bor or ad­ja­cent canes,” Wis­dom says.

• Dead­head blooms as they die to keep a fresh ap­pear­ance.

• Feed with an or­ganic fer­til­izer, and reg­u­larly re­move dam­aged fo­liage and blooms.

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