Climbing roses are showy standouts in summer
Want a plant that's a summer show-stopper in the landscape? An expert recommends climbing roses that beautifully fill the bill.
It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic picture than a country cottage covered in climbing roses.Skip to next paragraph
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Whether arching over a doorway, smothering a brick wall, twining around a rustic pole, or reaching up into the branches of an old tree, climbing roses are show-stoppers in the late spring and early summer garden.
Their eye-catching beauty is just the beginning -- climbers lend a sense of history and maturity to any setting. They soften the most formal architecture. And their ability to add colorful height can bring a ho-hum area of the garden to life in short order.
Climbing roses are a 'recent' sensation
Despite their centuries-old appearance, climbers are a Johnny-come-lately in the rose world. Hybrid descendants of ancient wild climbers became popular in the late 1800s.
Many large-flowered climbers appeared as a result of “sports” -- natural mutations -- from existing bushes.
Seeds from that rose, Champney’s Pink Cluster, produced the first recurrent climbers.
Of course, climbing roses can’t climb at all. In fact, they should probably be described as leaners. Their long canes don’t possess the tendrils that true climbing plants such as vines use to cling to objects.
Climbing roses need help -- strong, durable help -- no matter which structure they are tied to. Otherwise they would simply topple over under the weight of the heavy canes and sprawl across the ground.
Climbers dress up home exteriors
Most gardeners get their start with climbing roses by training them to frame an entranceway or adorn a trellis placed next to the house.
The first rule for success is to make sure your rose structure is weather resistant and rugged. The beams supporting a front porch will probably last for ages, but a flimsy, cheap trellis might not make it through the first season.
Also keep in mind that anytime you plant close to a house or garage, the ground there is likely to be the driest in the garden. Dig your hole at least 18 inches from the foundation and prepare the soil with plenty of organic matter.
Be sure to maintain a generous watering schedule for at least the first year and be patient -- most climbers will take three years to hit peak performance.