When you close your eyes and picture your ideal flower garden, what do you see? Chances are, there's a climbing rose somewhere in the picture. The ability of a single climbing rose specimen to transform a landscape is marvelous. Climbing roses, which are typically at their peak in the latter half of June, can turn cold metal structures and bland wooden trellises into life-supporting structures that may serve as a seating area, a source of fragrance, and a vertical focal point in the garden.
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A rose arbor may be the most classical way to display and support a climbing rose like this 'William Baffin' specimen, which will offer repeat blooms after a heavy flush in late June. Use an arbor or pergola in the garden as a special area to sit and reflect on the garden, or, if you don't add benches, use it to emphasize an entrance, either alone or over a gate. Either way, be sure to tie the canes securely to the structure with string, plastic ties, or soft insulated wire.
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Glamorous "she-sheds" aside, the garden shed is not always the most ornamental feature in the landscape. Sometimes we inherit a shabby shed that has seen better days, other times we can't afford a shed that is beautiful in addition to purposeful. When you train a rose to clamber up your garden shed's walls (with hooks or other attachments to support the rose canes) you add instant charm, patina, and even a sense of mystery to an otherwise ordinary lawn mower storage unit.
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For homes with a second-story balcony, only the smallest footprint is required to grow a thriving climbing rose. Dig a hole at least two feet in circumference and 18 inches deep, and amend generously with composted manure and leaf mold. Choose a vigorous climbing rose that will eagerly reach for the top of your balcony. Some rambler roses will attain heights of 40 feet or greater, so check the growing tag for mature height information. Many rambler roses only bloom once, but 'Snow Goose' and the pale yellow 'Malvern Hills' bloom repeatedly.
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Climbing roses and mature trees can co-exist as garden companions, if planned with care. A tree that supports a climbing rose should have a high or thin canopy that allows plenty of sunlight around the trunk where the rose will flourish. Choose a vigorous rambling rose that will stand out against a large tree. Use clips, netting, or string to support canes. To maintain vigor and keep the rambler blooming freely, prune old and woody stems to the ground each fall, leaving six or seven of the most productive canes for next year.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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When training a rose onto a fence, you can tie the canes onto portions of the fence in a fan shape. This will ensure layers of blooms, as vertical growing canes will produce flowers at the top of the canes and will remain bare at the bottom. For easiest training, choose a climber with plentiful, pliable stems like the rose in this photo, 'Paul's Scarlet.'
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Create a Rose Festoon
If you can imagine a living garland, then you know what a rose festoon looks like. A festoon is similar to a pergola, with two posts and a support in between. The support may be a rope, chain, or heavy duty wire. The idea is that the support isn't fixed, but hangs in a curve like a ribbon. The effect is very graceful, and would work equally well in a cottage garden or a formal garden.
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Installing a gazebo in the garden comes with a considerable expense. One doesn't usually build a gazebo for the specific purpose of supporting a climbing rose; rather, a gardener might choose a climbing rose to soften a structure that dominates the landscape. With the addition of a large climber like the magenta 'Alexandre Girault,' you'll transform a ho-hum shelter into a cozy retreat.
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A garden lamp standing stiffly in the center of the garden sometimes looks out of place, but all you need is a climbing rose to help this post blend in to its surroundings. Bear in mind the mature height of the rose, as you don't want the light itself to be consumed by flowers. Manageable climbers for lamp posts include the brilliant orange 'Warm Welcome,' about ten feet tall, or the cheerful scarlet blooms of 'Dizzy Heights.' Train the canes in a spiral pattern up the post, and tie loosely for support.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Grow a Rose on a Trellis
The placement of a rose-covered trellis in your garden can serve as a boundary for an outdoor room, or a trellis can be freestanding. The challenge for some trellises can be to find a suitable rose match for the size and strength of your support. Most climbing roses grow at least eight feet tall, and you don't want to face the prospect of pruning away the blooming parts of your canes in order to keep the plant in bounds.
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Train a Rose on a Wall
A rose trained against a wall gives the impression of an espaliered tree, only with much quicker and easier results. As sun lovers, your roses should not be trained onto north-facing walls. A sun-warmed east or south facing wall, on the contrary, may bring you more blooms than a free standing structure. Your climbing rose will benefit from the wind protection a wall provides. Fasten canes to the wall at a distance of at least an inch to provide mildew-reducing air circulation.