Prune climbing and rambling roses now for stunning flowers next summer.

Climbing roses
Climbing roses

A chance to see special plants

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The ground is very wet and it’s a good idea to keep off the soil because the surface becomes compacted and badly drained.

However, there are some important jobs to be done and these include the pruning of the climbing and rambling roses.

If you are not sure which is which, the climbers have thick branches which have been trained by bending the branches across a wall or fence and the tips of the main branches are trained so they are growing towards the soil’s surface. Yours aren’t like that? Rearrange the branches in that way and I promise you will have the best blooms ever.

The main branches are kept intact but all the side shoots which had flowers are pruned off leaving only one pair of buds. These buds will grow next spring and all the flowers will be borne on those shoots.

There are two main types of ramblers, the first is the Dorothy Perkins type which produces masses of small flowers in groups. They flower just once.

The branches which flowered are cut to an inch of the ground and the new shoots are not pruned but tied into a fan shape. Are yours like that? If not, give this a try and let me know how pleased you are with the blaze of blooms next summer.

The second group are the most popular, they bloom once and then send out new growth which tends to attack the operator of the mower.

All the stems which bloomed are cut back to the main stems and all the new growths are left unpruned but it’s a great idea to tie every branch into wires fixed 10 inches apart and tie these growths into half circles so the tips are facing the ground. Again, if you have not tried this it results in the best display ever.

We don’t prune HT, patio or floribunda roses too hard at this time of year. All that’s needed is a light pruning so the top few inches are removed. This prevents the wind rocking the plants. The correct hard pruning is done at the end of February. Almost forgot, if yours are still flowering, nip off the tips once the flowers have finished.

What about feeding? A top dressing of well-rotted manure is excellent for all types of roses at this time of year but a dressing of Vitax Q4 fertiliser or fish, blood and bone is best applied in early April when the weather should be warmer.

To finish, pick up all fallen rose leaves. This has been a very bad year for blackspot disease unless you followed my advice by spraying every fortnight.