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Training climbing roses

Hi, hope someone can help a new gardener...planted a climbing rose, Generous Gardener, up a pergola last autumn. Problem is i am not sure how to train it to climb up the pergola leg - have been using sticks and string to tie in all the branches and gently putting the branches around the leg. But... having read up i think maybe this is wrong and i should be only attaching the main stems and leaving the side shoots free!  Hope this makes sense - any help appreciated.

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  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,781

    THE GENEROUS GARDENER IS A BIG PLANT. IT GROWS STRONGLY, MAKING 12FEET EASILY IN A SUMMER. IT HAS VERY STIFF, STURDY AND RATHER UNBENDING STEMS. ITS HABIT IS LIKE AN ENORMOUS BUSH ROSE. NOT EASY TO CONTROL TO COVER A PERGOLA. 

    YOU SOUND AS IF YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST TO KEEP IT TIED UP. THE ONLY OPTION REALLY. ONCE IT GETS ESTABLISHED YOU WILL BE ABLE TO CUT OUT LARGE NUMBERS OF THE OLDER STEMS LEAVING THE NEWER, SLIGHTLY MORE PLIABLE, ONES TO RAMPAGE AROUND AND BE CAUGHT BY YOU WITH YOUR BALL OF STRING.image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Good advice by pansyface, don't tie too tightly and each year remove any unnecessary ties where the stems have become self supporting around the pergola leg.  Trim back the side shoots in mid Autumn or early spring to a couple of inches, they will produce new growth from the short stem.  Replace older stems with new growth from lower down the bush.  I try to reduce the overall size of the climber by 40% each spring making way for and encouraging new growth.

  • Bright starBright star Wrea GreenPosts: 793

    There are some brilliant videos on YouTube Steve71, when I watched them I realised that what I'd previously done was wrong and why I had flowers at the top and bare stems at the bottom. The stems need to be trained horizontally and then flowers are produced on the lateral shoots that grow from the horizontal stem. The videos can explain it better than I can, well worth watching, I learned so much!

    Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

  • Will try to watch the videos you suggest bright star as certainly don't want bare bottom stems! Bit confused on how i can have horizontal stems when trying to grow vertically up a pergola leg though, but hopefully i can find the videos you mention and all will become clear.  

    Just to confirm then, i am correct in tying in all stems to the pergola leg? In say November or early spring cut out at the bottom a couple of the oldest stems?

  • If the pergola leg is simply a square post it will be difficult to tie all the stems to it.  Maybe think in terms of a small trellis to the side or/and to the front. around 9 inches to a foot.  This way the stems can be tied to this and spread further apart.  Trim side shoots back to a couple of inches in late autumn and trim the tips of the main stems to encourage new side growth. you don't need to go mad on cutting back older growth for the first two or three years.  Concentrate on getting a good shape for the first two years and take the plant where you want it to go.  One teacher I had always arched the main stems before trimming off the tips This encourages upright growth from the stem in spring.  You always need to have a plan with big climbers of where you want it to be when it is mature.  Pergolas can be difficult because the natural habit of the rose is to grow vertically.  A trellis pannel about 12 18 inches high set as a facier at the front of the pergola is useful to create a frame to grow the rose allong and spread out the stems.  Here you can see more readily what to cut back and what to leave.  A rose which is overgrown will produce less blooms and be less attractive.

  • Like the idea of the trellis seedhead.  Wish i had done this originally.  Have just looked at rose and think the stems around the leg could not be unwound without breaking so will have to continue spiralling those to the top but will put up a trellis for new growth.  Have been watching the youtube videos and much clearer now. Many thanks.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 65,343
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • Zimmerman is renowned for rose care Dove.  Thank you I will watch too.  I am sure Steve will get a lot out of them   ~   Clive

  • Bright starBright star Wrea GreenPosts: 793

    those are the videos I've been watching dove, he's a great communicator, straight talking. 

    Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

  • Have watched Zimmerman videos - very good information, thanks

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