blog post - rambling roses
Unlike climbing roses which flower in flushes from summer to the first frost, rambling roses usually (but not in all cases) flower once in the season producing a spectacular display of blooms in June.
Due to their closeness to species roses, many ramblers are more tolerant of disease than climbers and like species roses, they often produce clusters of lots of small to medium sized flowers followed by very attractive rose hips in the autumn. These vigorous climbers are a great choice for growing through large tress or for quickly covering a pergola, arch or unsightly wall. The pruning is a little different for ramblers than climbers. Its not complicated and will ensure that plants flower well each season because if left unchecked, ramblers will become a mass of tangled branches with fewer flowers and mostly all near the top of the plant. Ramblers are usually pruned in late summer after the flowers and hips have faded. Remove one third of the oldest stems each year (cutting down to the base) to make space for new, vigorous growth. If the rose is outgrowing its spot, cut out any flowered stems and tie in new shoots. On the remaining stems, shorten side shoots by about two thirds and tie into supports. If you have an old, overgrown rambler you can renovate the plant any time from late autumn to late winter, in much the same way as you would prune in late summer. Remove any old, woody stems at the base and tie in new, vigorous shoots. Shorten side shoots as before and tip prune (cut back by about one third to a half) long stems to encourage branching further down. Mulch well with well rotted manure and plants should bounce back in spring with a flush of vigorous, new growth.
If you’ve got space for a rambler, here are my top three:
Rosa ‘Alberic Barbier’ produces clusters of fragrant, double creamy white flowers in mid-June and often again later in the season. This is a fabulous, vigorous climber for pergolas in sun but even more impressively, its a rose that performs very well in shade.
Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’. I’m a sucker for yellow roses. I had them in my wedding bouquet, they are flowering in my garden at the moment and there is a display of them (and pale blue irises) in a vase on the coffee table in my living room currently. This thornless rambler produces a delightful display of lemon yellow flowers in April/May, much earlier than many other ramblers. Although they take some shade, they can be tender in these parts so best to grow them in a sunny, sheltered spot.
Rosa ‘Albertine’. I’ve used this twice in clients gardens to cover pergolas and it does a fantastic job. I love it so much Rambthis year I decided to give pride of place to two plants on either side of my front door. They should quickly grow up the arch of wires installed by my hubby, creating a colourful scented entrance to my home amongst my little country, cottage garden. ‘Albertine’ is a strong, reliable rambler with large coppery pink flowers that open almost double, a bit like a hybrid tea and with the delicious scent of old, english roses. Mmmmm.