Keeping a garden favourite in check

Before winter truly arrives, its a good idea to prune your climbing and rambling roses

Pruning roses now will ensure that the stems do not get too brittle which then in turn allows them to be guided them into place on the structures that support them. Bending stems down to form gentle curves after pruning will encourage many more flowers for next year than if they were left to grow straight up.

Roses pruned over ropes at RHS Garden Hyde HallAt Hyde Hall, we choose to train them along ropes (left) which are draped along wooden frames, some are growing vertically, tied flat onto the side of the thatched barn and we have others on individual frames in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

They all have different growth habits: some are long, sleek and lax which allow us to be artistic and manipulate them to create basket shapes and beautiful curves; some are stubborn with shorter stubby growths which resist our needs and threaten to break when we tie them; and some are over-enthusiastic and smother the frames they grow on, are very thorny and are pruned hard to make them behave! These types would usually be seen scrambling up through tree canopies and their hooked sharp thorns enable them to do this with ease. But beware if you leave them, it will be a much harder task to get them back into control!

The ramblers flower on the previous year’s growth, so don’t cut this off or you will have no flowers the following summer. The climbers are obliging and flower on everything, old and new alike, but it’s always best to remove the older growth as this helps to rejuvenate the plants keeping them young and fresh. Arm your selves with sharp, clean secateurs, a pruning saw, a big pair of loppers and some twine (but never wire) to tie with!

Roses at RHS Garden Hyde HallCome and visit us to see the beautiful shapes we have created on our climbing and rambling roses throughout the garden.

They not only look beautiful in the summer but equally as interesting in the winter when they are tied in and have frost on their bare stems. Rosa ‘Bobbie James’ travels along ropes in waves in the Queen Mother's Garden; ‘Rambling Rector’ heads up a pine tree; ‘Iceberg’ is neat and tidy on the side of the barn; and ‘Mermaid’ spreads itself around the corner of the farm house.

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