This is the time of year when the rose catalogues start to arrive, and I just love to look at them. It is also the time of year when you should start to look at your landscape and see if there is an ugly wall or fence you
would like to bring to life with a climbing rose. The first step to take is to measure the
area and see if you wish a climber or pillar because there is a great difference in expectations. I love pillar roses because they grow with minimum support and will
form a column of color and are easy to care for. Altissimo is a wonderful disease free
rose with Chinese lacquer red single blooms. I planted one of these in front of my former nursery and it has never failed to inspire. The present owners never feed it or otherwise take care of it and it is keeps on doing its thing. There are a lot of roses like this, but don’t expect them to cover an arbor. They are pillar and that is it. Another pillar
type rose is Autumn Sunset, a bright yellow, also Sally Holmes is another wonderful pillar type rose with single white blooms that will knock your eyes out with its shrub covering blooms. I recommend these as semi-self supporting vines that need only a modicum of support. As with all roses you need to feed and properly prune them to get the best out of them.
True climbing roses, the ones for the arbor, will put on canes anywhere from 10 feet to in some cases 20 feet in one growing season. The champion of this type of vigorous rose would be Cecile Brunner climbing rose. I have seen this rose grow in old deserted yards where there absolutely is no care. In season they bloom their heads off, mostly in the spring. They are comp-letely disease free and except for an early aphid attack are bug free. The only down side is that they bloom only once in the spring and then intermittingly during the rest of the year. Since they are a vigorous grower they are easy to train on an arbor. Make sure you pronounce the name ce- CILE Brunner. She is a great lady.
Some of my favorite climbing roses are those that bloom multiple times throughout the year and drop their blooms without constant grooming. Very few of these set rose hips (seed pods) and thus don’t require the constant grooming as do many hybrid tea roses.
Candy Cane climbing rose is a spectacular blooming rose that blooms abundantly on old and new wood. This is a vigorous grower and very trainable. The long succulent canes are easily added to any arbor or other frame. Don Juan climbing rose is a heavy blooming rose with blooms that can be picked and enjoyed just as some roses are bred for the vase in the living room. Dublin Bay climbing rose would be similar with a brighter red bloom.
One of the most unique colors of climbing rose would be Fourth of July. This was the first climbing rose to win the coveted AARS award in 20 years. Diseasefree dark green foliage and explosive bi-color made this climbing rose a winner and a great addition to any trellis or fence. I don’t think there is a better climbing white rose than climbing Iceberg. This is a sport from the floribunda rose that I have used in landscapes all over the area because of its constant blooming habit and disease freefoliage. I used it as a hedge next to a lawn and never saw one iota of mildew or black spot. One last rose of the climbingvariety is Jacob’s Robe rose. This multi colored rose is disease free and a vigorous grower to 10 to 12 feet. If you would like a multicolored rose of reds, yellow, pink, and light pink this disease free vigorous grower is for you. These roses are my recommendations because they are some with which I am familiar. Here are some tips when looking for a wonderful climbing rose to add to yourlandscape. Check to make sure it is a climbing rose and not a pillar. Make sure it will throw canes up to 18 to 20 feet in one season. Also make sure it has disease resistant foliage and is self grooming. Make sure that you will take care of it as with any other rose in your garden. Feeding once a month with a good organic fertilizer is a must as is proper watering. I also recommend AlfaGrow in addition to your regular organic rose fertilizer. OH! and wear heavy gloves and goggles when working with these wonderful plants.