Pruning climbing roses...

 Looking pretty!
Pink Gerbe Roses

July is my rose pruning month. So do I actually know how to prune roses correctly? Sort of. But what about daft ones like the Gerbe rose, whose long canes die back dreadfully? I do not understand this rose at all. So I've shortened everything that's green and cut off everything else at the base. This may not work.

Friday 5th July

For the last two days I've been trimming things (mainly roses) with my new secateurs. Today I worked on the garden bed by the bonfire. Some lovely roses grow here - Wedgwood, Lady of Megginch, Darcey Bussell, Margaret Merrill. But Crepuscule on the pergola looks half dead, and the Gerbe rose looks disgraceful. I must be doing something wrong? Or not doing something right?

A climbing rose called Sir Edmund Hillary grows nearby. Sir Ed. the man was one of the best climbers ever. Sir Ed. the rose just sits there, about waist high, and gets no taller. What to do? Put some prayer flags around him to encourage the vibes? Ignore him for another year?

Rationalising the garden further along, I've dug up a couple of sad red roses (normal ones) which were struggling underneath the large Phormium. These are now in a bucket of water, and can be replanted in the sunny Hump Garden. There's also a William Shakespeare which needs to be shifted (it's on the far-too-shady side of the fence).

 This rose should be a brilliant climber!
Sir Edmund Hillary Rose

I don't think I understand the habits of climbing roses. For example, I thought I was supposed to leave the long canes. But every one that I responsibly tie down (to an arch, to a fence, whatever) dies a couple of years later. While the ones that I forget about flap around in the breeze and live for ever. It's enough to make one lose confidence. And what to do about Crepuscule? The idea of starting all over again is quite appealing. My Crepuscule has got the fattest old trunks, and very few new canes growing anywhere. Isn't that part of good rose growth - that new stuff appears? Hmm...

After my cup of tea the plan is to rake up lots of dry leaves, add them to the rose mess, and burn the lot. Hmm...

Later...

I did just that. So that's four more barrowfuls of prunings disposed of, lots of Aconites trimmed, and some sheltered Hydrangeas pruned as well. And now I'm inside - alas, no House Merlot as a reward - just a cool iced water. Beautiful!

Aargh! Have just removed a fat live mouse from the kitchen that both Fred cats were 'toying' with. The Freds are catching a couple of mice a day. Displaying unusually thoughtful cat etiquette, the bodies are left lying on outside doormats. So when exiting the house one has to check underfoot. Squish. Aargh!

 Red Fred loves gardening.
Red Fred the Cat

Right. A shower, clean apres-gardening clothes, and some music practice. It's been a great day. Maybe The Gerbe rose isn't grown very much because it has poor health? The flowers are pink and pretty, but always look a bit bruised. Must check. Aha! It's a Wichurana rambling rose. Not a climber. Suitable for a pillar (mine has been tied lengthways on a fence). Disease resistance : poor. Poor!