Rambling Roses as the name suggests are rampant growers, happily climbing on the walls of grand houses, country cottages, barns, trellis, pergolas and stable blocks all over the UK. They are equally at home growing up trees and do particularly well growing through fruit trees in old orchards. They flower usually from late June to mid September in the UK, and some varieties produce small red hips after flowering. Almost all are 'multiflora' that is to say they bear clusters of small flowers. They do best in full sun but will happily tolerate partial or dappled shade.
Growing and Planting
It's best to ask yourself the question 'have I got enough space' before you consider growing one, as they can grow to 20ft or more tall and wide. Planting: As with all roses make sure the ground is frost free, then dig a hole at least twice the size of the pot for a potted rose or a significantly sized hole to backfill with compost if you have a bare rooted plant. Mix in a handful of fish, blood and bone or similar to your compost and mix well. Most roses have been grafted on to a stock so make sure the union of the bud is buried around 2cm below the soil. Soak the rose in a bucket of water for a while before planting and soak the ground again when planted to give your rose a good start.
White Rambling Rector
The Rambling rector (above 2) is one of our most popular ramblers and is quite sweetly scented. The origins of this rose are somewhat vague but one perhaps can imagine a rather romantic scenario in that it began life in an English village, perhaps in the Vicars garden. Flowering from late June it is a good tree climber and ideal for a wall or pergola. It is shade tolerant and will cope with a North facing aspect and is disease resistant although it's possible some blackspot may occur which will need treatment with a suitable fungicide. If you intend to grow this rose on a wall you should first affix some wires to support the main stems. These should be paced horizontally from 45-61cm (18-24inches) apart. Tie in the main stems as they grow and remove any dead wood and heads when flowering is finished.
White Ramblers Kiftsgate
Named after Kiftsgate Court Gardens which is situated near the birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford on Avon. The Kiftsgate rambler originated in this lovely Cotswold garden (which is open to the public for information on Kiftsgate Court Gardens follow this link: here). It was planted there by the well known horticulturalist and rose expert Graham Stuart Thomas in 1938 and named by him in 1951. They claim to have the largest Kiftsgate rose in England and say that every year their rose produces huge growth and already covers three trees. It I'm sure is a magnificent sight when in full bloom. Kiftsgate then ( pictured above courtesy Hal Hambrook) is a giant of a rose, so you will need plenty of space for this beauty. I have two to look after, one on the side of a barn the other on a grand country house. The main stems are sturdier than the Rector but do need support wires. Fairly disease resistant, but some blackspot may occur. The need for pruning is limited to old growth but tying in stems and removal of flower heads and wayward shoots is desirable.
White Ramblers Bobbie James
Bobbie James is another of the great classic white ramblers. (above courtesy Kurt Stueber) It has a heady powerful scent from its billowing flowers and is notable for its long rather fierce spines. It is thought that this is another Graham Stuart Thomas rose. He of course being the famous collector of heritage roses of Sunningdale Nurseries whom by chance came to discover this rose in 1961 as a seedling in the garden of Lady Serena James at St Nicholas, her house, nr Richmond in North Yorkshire. Thomas, named it after Lady Serena's husband The Hon. Robert 'Bobbie' James the well known Yorkshire horticulturalist who created the wonderful gardens at St Nicholas. (The gardens are open to the public for information on St Nicholas Gardens follow this link: here ) Suitable for shaded areas, it flowers from late June onwards and is like other ramblers resistant to fungal diseases. Needs support if on walls but will happily climb up trees and over arches. Lady Serena James incidentally died at the turn of the Millennium aged 99 and Graham Stuart Thomas passed on in 2003 having being awarded the Order of The British Empire OBE.
White Ramblers Wedding Day
The Wedding Day rambling rose must surely cover the front porches of many an English cottage since it is so often given as a gift to remind a couple of their special day. (above courtesy Kurt Stueber) It has a small creamy five petal pointed flower which is very well scented. Again this Rose was discovered as a seedling in Worthing, in Sussex England. It is thought that Sir Frederick Stern first introduced the rose some when in the 1950's. Ideally as with all roses it should be planted in a humus rich soil but is really tolerant and will thrive in a north aspect and in partial shade. Eventually your Rambler may need to be restored as over a period of years some of the original stems may get old. It is a good idea every few years then to thoroughly remove any dead wood and strip the main stems back. Cut out approx. one third of the old stems particularly if they are showing signs of dieback or disease to the base, that will encourage new growth. All roses benefit from a handful of fertilizer in March and again in June, lightly dug in around the base.
Pictures: from top 1 cakes a plenty in celebration of HM the Queens Diamond Jubilee 2/3 Rambling Rector 4 Kiftsgate 5 Bobbie James 6 Wedding Day 7 Afternoon tea on a grand scale outside the village pub in celebration of HM the Queens Diamond Jubilee. General discussion and your views are welcome please say hello. I regret however because of my busy schedule, I am unable to answer many questions. Sneaky advertising will be deleted sorry. Thanks so much for visiting my blog today.