How Does Our Garden Grow – August 2022


Rebecca Weersing

One of the benefits of belonging to the American Rose Society is access to their great webinars. Recently Claude Graves gave an excellent talk on “Ramblers, the Majestic Giant Roses”.
What is a Rambling Rose? According to “Rambling roses are vigorous shrubs with long, flexible stems which emerge from the base of plants and are easy to train on trellis, over arches and pergolas.” One might ask, isn’t that a climbing rose? And the answer would be no, they are similar but not the same. Fifty percent of the parentage of a rambler comes from one of three species roses – Rosa multiflora, Rosa wichuraiana and Rosa sempervirens. The other fifty percent parentage comes from another non-species rose. The Golden Age of Ramblers occurred between 1825 and 1999, with some ramblers from earlier years. The American Rose Society is organizing an effort to preserve these roses at the American Rose Center Gardens in Shreveport, LA. They are encouraging other gardens to add Rambler collections. The Rose Haven Committee will be considering how we can assist in the preservation of Ramblers.
As one would imagine, if Ramblers are called ‘Majestic Giants’, one can expect that these plants are huge with an impressive display when in bloom. Ramblers clamber up and over structures, over the ground and through trees, reaching 15 to 20 even 40 feet. Although most Ramblers are once-blooming, their bloom period is generally six weeks or so. But what a bloom period! Ramblers are easy to keep, do not require any hard pruning, stop blooming if they are fed high nitrogen foods or fertilizers, produce lovely rose hips and are nearly evergreen.
Yes, we currently have three plants of the Rambler ‘New Dawn’ growing on a very well-built trellis in the Rose Hall of Fame. (Thank you, Peter, for your forethought in constructing a home for these roses.) In the Peace and Friendship Garden we will be planting both white and yellow Lady Banks, allowing the bushes to sprawl over the Upper Garden shed. With thought and planning there are a couple of other areas at Rose Haven where we could add these Majestic Giant Roses.