Always better to feed the soil - especially with things like roses, clematis etc. If it's only that age too, excess food can produce a lot of soft growth which is what aphids love. They suck the sap, which often means disfigured foliage. It isn't terminal though As already said, it's a young plant and is establishing the roots, just like many plants do, so there's often a bit of imbalance when a spurt of new top growth appears, especially at this time of year. You'll probably find it'll settle and be fine next year. Follow the advice re wiping them away, or skooshing with a jet of water, for now. Make sure it has enough water, add a mulch of compost or similar, and keep other planting/weeds away from the base to help eliminate any competition. If it's gone short of water in it's early months, that won't have helped, but if it's producing new growth, there isn't necessarily any long term problem. If you can encourage blue tits through autumn/winter, they'll be very helpful next spring. You can even try it now. They're the best predator. It can sometimes take a while to get a good balance. A little feeder hung nearby often does the trick though, as they spot the aphids while having some food there
Here's a little tip, which I've been experimenting with over 3 years.. it sounds wacky but science indicates that it works.
This climbing rose here, which as you can see is virtually aphid free, has been treated periodically with a mulch of spent tea bags. I just cut the bags in half and tip out the leaves around the plant. It takes time to work by getting into the roots and up the stems. It is thought to make the rose distasteful to aphids, as tea leaves contain substances that act as aphid deterrents..
I've seen few birds about at the moment, and whilst ladybirds are plentiful I've seen none on this rose because there's nothing for them to eat..
.. climbing rose treated with tea..
In long dry spells, the top layer of soil can look very dry, but it might not be like that lower down. A properly established plant that's been well watered initially, will have it's roots down well enough to access moisture, but again - it will depend on your soil and how well it drains, and how well that early establishment has been. That's why adding organic material regularly is beneficial because it just improves the soil structure, and helps it retain moisture better in dry periods, but it also helps drainage if the soil's heavy.
A plant of any kind that's really needing watered will tend to droop, so unless there's another reason for that, that's when you might need to water more.
Don't worry too much about the aphids. It's something that happens most years, to most gardeners. Warmer weather and a bit of rain and plants suddenly grow, which is perfect for them. In most cases, the plants cope.
I rarely have them at this time of year because I don't have many plants that are susceptible, and when I have a few, the blue tits hoover them up quickly anyway. I noticed some on a euphorbia the other day. The birds have already had them
I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
Absolutely, snip off all those horrid old leaves plus clear up any fallen leaves in the pot below and dispose of them. They are just harbouring fungal diseases and that will spread to the new growth in time. Watering or feeding will not ‘get rid’ of black spot or any other of the fungal diseases roses are susceptible to, but it’s true that a rose in a good potting mix, fed and watered correctly, will be healthier and better able to shrug infections off.
A climbing rose in a pot requires extra TLC as they are hungry plants. As others have said on your other thread, the right potting mix is important as just compost is not sufficient to sustain it, so what did you use? Depending on the particular climbing rose you have (?) and how tall and vigorous it wants to be, it’s possible it will not be happy in a pot long-term. Looks a decent-sized pot though. I have copied the photo from your other thread here for reference, really doesn’t look too bad overall, I have seen far worse!
Few of my last years best performers appear as if their growth is stunted due to these pests.. Loads of ladybugs here but weather needs to warm up a bit more for their larvae to come out and start munching these pests..