This summer of 2009, my Rosa ‘New Dawn’ has put out a bumper crop of new shoots. Typically, in August, this climbing rose has three or four long stems of new growth. This year, at least a dozen have shot their wands to the sky. Lucky me. Really.
This means my arbour is gifted with a panoply of new growing stems for next year’s blooms — even though the bugs are making a salad of some of the tender baby leaves.
The touch of frosty bloom on the stems’ surface is a sign that quick action may be required. While the rose isn’t paying attention — that is, before these new stems have time to turn woody — I’ll bend these thorny growths to my will.
Right now, these stems are supple and pliant enough to bend without breaking. Any stems growing into the inner portion of the arbour’s archway, for instance, can be gently, carefully about-faced back into the sunlight.
Wherever possible, I also tie the branches in so that they run horizontally, even running back and forth in an “S” shape if room, to encourage more secondary branching later on. Climbing roses like to bloom upward, so if you leave one branch pointing up, it will make a bloom at the tip. But if you train it horizontally, it will send “upward” new blooming tips from multiple points. Of course, one way to create horizontal branching is to tie the whips across the top of the arbour. A little work now is a good way to get a jump on the jobs for next spring.