Saturday 16 February 2013

Rose pruning at Sissinghurst II

Thursday 31st Jan
Weather: 9 - 10°C. Rainy & windy at first then sunny.

Today we had a go at pruning the upright trained roses at Sissinghurst.

This time we used chestnut coppice as four upright posts, forming a long thin box sort of area. I was advised by Jo to think of it as dealing with four walls. Again last years training and framework was dismantled and fresh wood was used. The rose we dealt with was called Rosa 'William Lobb' which has long stems densely spiked. It is an old rambling kind of rose and has double petals. The sprawling mass of arches that we pruned the day before was a Rosa 'Ulrich Brunner Fils' which is a hybrid perpetual which despite its name is a rose that often only really blooms once, but was bred so that there might be a chance they would repeat flower. Hybrid teas superseded these.

Again we 'snibbled' any dead or unwanted overly short stems. We had to wrap the stems around the 'four walls' as well spaced as possible, adopting a loose criss-cross type of pattern, guided a little by where the stems wanted to bend. They had to be exposed outside of the poles as much as possible, as once it grows it will be thick with foliage and there will not be much light inside. There was one essential rule - you do not bend the rose stem lower than where it was growing, or that stem will die. This was the same for the sprawling mass of roses earlier. One got rid of any excess or overly awkward stems as we went along, again trying to judge ahead as we did it - what was good to keep, what we wanted to the overall framework to look like, good spacing and the best advantage for the plant in this situation.

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