Creating a Support System
Ramblers can grow to a vigorous 15 to 25 feet tall and typically bloom just once a year. Still, despite their shorter bloom duration and sometimes unwieldy growing habit, ramblers are worth planting where you've got the space, says Larry Parton, a rose grower for 25 years and owner of the Northland Rosarium in Spokane, Washington. Not only will they grow taller and cover more area than climbers, they flower much more profusely, unfolding a spectacular show for three to six weeks in spring (the cooler the weather, the longer they'll stay in bloom). Like rhododendrons and azaleas, roses that bloom just once mark the seasons, arriving in splendor, giving joy to the heart, and then going away—only to be awaited and welcomed once more a year hence. "They also tend to be hardier and more disease-resistant than those that bloom all season," adds Parton.

No roses cling to a surface on their own, though, and some need more support than others. Climbing roses must be tied up to keep them from blowing or falling over. And while ramblers tend to grow thickly and heavily enough to stay put once they're established, tying them in place for the first couple of years is the best way to train them over a structure. In either case, "you want to immobilize three or four primary canes," says Parton. To do so, he uses plastic garden tape that can be found at any nursery. This is strong and flexible, so it's unlikely to damage canes even in a hard wind. Twine also works but is less forgiving, and the natural fibers can decompose in a year or two. "Don't use wire," he warns—it can bite into rose canes and kill them. Tie the tape or twine tightly to the support, then loosely to the canes. If necessary, you can place hooks into wood or even masonry substrates and tie the canes to those. (When it comes time to repaint a wall or fence, simply lift off the cane and lay it on the ground.)
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