Choosing Climbers & Ramblers

Choosing climbers and ramblers

More questions are asked about climbers than any other type of rose so this month and next we we’ll be looking at ramblers and climbers in more depth, starting this month with making the right selection.

Firstly, there is a difference between the two.  In general, old-fashioned ramblers flower only once per summer season and will give tremendous displays for a short period of time. If you don’t support a rambler it will lie along the ground.

Climbers, on the other hand, are usually repeat-flowering, helped by regular dead-heading, and all varieties are suitable for training onto walls, fences sheds, house walls etc.

Before you buy your rambler or climber you should consider what you want it to do and ask advice. So often people buy a plant on impulse then find it cannot do the job that they want, so discuss your requirements with a Rose Grower or Rose Specialist.

Ramblers, for example, are useful to cover unsightly areas, such as old sheds and brick walls.. Many are also suitable to give some colour grown into trees     If you have a big pergola then they are ideal, but better still mixed in with some more modern repeat flowering ramblers and climbers.

For pergolas and arches – don’t think that if they are flexible they are going to automatically be suitable for such structures.  Some will produce lateral stems on the arch top which will be extremely difficult to tie in.  Any climber which has stiff growth is not recommended. The most difficult aspect to grow climbers is North Facing, so any variety which is suitable for this will be fine in any other.

In recent years we have had another category added. These are called Patio or Courtyard climbers.  The Courtyard climbers are a little bushier but can be planted with Patio Climbers. All provide colour from top to toe.  They don’t have to be trained along a structure to achieve these blooms. Height and width can be controlled with their dense foliage and small to medium sized blooms.  Some are suitable for small arches and obelisks.

November cultural hints

We recently heard a garden question on a local radio station when the usual knowledgeable presenter was ill. The stand-in was asked, via an email for guidance.

The listener wanted to know if the bare root rose he was expecting in November could be planted straight into the ground or needed to be firstly planted in a pot.  Unfortunately, he was advised to plant it into a pot until it was established.  Whilst no doubt the supplier would have included planting instructions; what a hassle and expense to go to and no guarantee of success.

November is the start of the long months in which bare root roses and other nursery stock can be planted straight into the ground, weather permitting! Until the growth of Garden Centres bare root planting was the natural way to buy and plant such roses, hardy stock and trees.  It still remains the best and cheapest way to purchase plants during autumn and winter.

If you haven’t already prepared the area for your roses; either seek to postpone delivery or when plants are received keep as packed in a cool shed or garage.

If you can’t plant within three weeks or so, then seek advice about “heeling in the plants”. Prepare the area by digging it over and incorporating well-rotted manure, garden compost or branded soil improvers or conditioners.  Don’t open any holes as rainwater can freeze in the bottom, or in dry conditions the hole will dry out.

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