WITHOUT wanting to state the obvious, climbing roses need something to climb through and on, writes TOM ATTWOOD.

The structure you choose to grow a climbing rose on needs to be suitable and appropriate to the rose you choose. Some have more vigour than others and it’s important to make the distinction between a climbing rose and a rambling rose. Rambling roses are free spirits that once planted you (to a degree) forget about, giving them the room and space to clamber into a tree or very large structure. They can get sizeable and wouldn’t be compatible with a traditional garden arch or a couple of six-feet square fencing panels. This is the territory for climbing roses which need to be pruned regularly (unlike ramblers) to promote the production of new stems and therefore better flowering. Climbing roses will always perform better planted into the ground as opposed to a large pot or container, although this can be done. Depending on whether the site you opt for gets full sun or light shade is another criteria that will nudge you towards some varieties more than others. If you have a shady area but still want a rose then go for a variety such as The Generous Gardener, an exquisite rose with large, cup-shaped delicate pale pink flowers (it’s also worth noting its delicious fragrance) or perhaps Teasing Georgia with rich yellow, rosette-shaped blooms. It has a lovely, strong tea fragrance. Very reliable, extremely healthy and an easy to grow climber. At the opposite end of the spectrum full sun gives you a tsunami of choices.

If you’ve seen a well-trained rose in full flower it will usually take the form of an ark. If you can encourage the stems to bend then this will trigger shoots to form and therefore flower. Newly planted roses need to be kept well-watered for the first few weeks and manured every spring. A hungry rose will often stagnate unlike one looked after regularly whose response will be a visual spectacle very hard to rival anywhere else in the garden.

Next week: why pinch out the tips of plants?