Rambler Roses and Climbing Roses

Ramblers and Climbers

In general, ramblers have a spreading habit of growth, but can usually be trained up low garden features; climbers are sturdier and have a more upright habit, and are suitable for training up tall fences and walls. In their cultivated form, the rambler and climber roses can be collectively divided into two types. The more recent, which are nowadays far more popular in smaller gardens, are of relatively moderate growth; most of them have a prolonged period of flowering and many (notably the Kordes varieties) are recurrent. The second type are the older ramblers and climbers, which are very vigorous in growth, require much pruning, but are still very useful for training up the taller garden structures.


Moderate growers

These, if pruned by cutting back strong growths, make fine, spreading plants. They are ideal for screens, pillars, walls, fences, and trellises, but are not tall enough for arches or pergolas.

‘Aloha’, 1.5 to 3 m (5 to 10 ft). Can be grown as a shrub, but with good cultivation builds up into a fine pillar rose, and succeeds on north-facing walls; scented, double, hybrid-tea-type blooms, deep pink in centre and paling towards edges with a suffusion of orange.

'Altissimo' rambler rose

'Altissimo' Rambler Rose



‘Altissimo’, 1.8 to 2.4 m (6 to 8 ft). A vigorous and healthy favourite with those who love singles; non-scented, freely produced, large, velvety, blood-red blooms shaded with crimson and with bright golden stamens. Makes a fine shrub if main stems are shortened.

‘Bantry Bay’, 3 m (10 ft). A vigorous grower; freely produced semi-double, light rose-pink flowers throughout the season. Good for pillar, wall, or fence.

‘Casino’, 3.5 m (12 ft). A vigorous climber; hybrid-tea-type flowers, deep yellow when young, but softening with age. Appreciates the shelter of a wall or pillar.

‘Compassion’, 2.4 m (8 ft). A vigorous grower; lovely hybrid-tea-type apricot-pink flowers with a considerable fragrance.

‘Danse du Feu’, 2.4 m (8 ft). A fairly vigorous climber; somewhat globular orange-scarlet flowers, set off nicely by dark-green foliage. Does well on a north wall, where it holds its spectacular colour better.

‘Dortmund’, 2.4 to 3 m (8 to 10 ft). A Kordes-type climber of vigorous growth; freely produced, large, single, crimson flowers with a white centre. Must be dead-headed for recurrent bloom, otherwise a large crop of hips supervenes. If it is pruned it makes a good shrub.

‘Dreaming Spires’. A vigorous upright climber; impressive, bright golden yellow flowers and heavy, dark-green, leathery foliage. Has a distinct fragrance.

‘Dublin Bay’. A climber of medium growth, 2 m (6 ft); very freely produced, double, brilliant deep-red flowers.

‘Galway Bay’, 2.4 to 3 m(8 to 10 ft). A vigorous climber; large, semi- double, salmon-pink flowers produced in abundance over a long period.

‘Golden Showers’, 2 to 3 m (6 to 10 ft). A variety of medium growth with almost thornless stems; freely produced, deep-gold flowers which pale to cream. Blooms with great consistency if regularly dead-headed. Successful as a shrub or a hedge, it is easily kept to its allotted space and so is particularly suitable for small gardens.

‘Handel’, 2.4 to 3 m (8 to 10 ft). A vigorous and distinctive rose; its shapely buds open cream, flushed and heavily edged with deep pink, and are freely produced. The young growths break freely from base, so with pruning it makes an excellent shrub.

‘Joseph’s Coat’. An all-rounder useful as a pillar rose or on a wall, where it will reach 3 m (10 ft) when trained; large trusses of semi-double, bright yellow flowers flushed with orange and cherry red. Very productive, especially in autumn. Can be grown as a shrub or, if heavily pruned, as a tall bedder.

‘Mermaid’, 7.6 m (25 ft). An outsider in this group, but included because of its long flowering period; delicately scented, beautiful single, pale sulphur-yellow flowers. Not a rose for cold districts, it is best suited to warm walls or close-boarded fences.

‘Mme Alfred Carrière’, 6.1 m (20 ft). A vigorous climber, almost a century old but included in this section because it flowers recurrently; freely produced, small white flowers suffused with pale bluish pink. Popular owing to its ability to thrive on walls with northern and eastern aspects; useful also on a pergola or up and over an old tree.

‘New Dawn’, 2.1 m (7 ft). Although essentially a rambler it has been much used in breeding of recurrent climbers; medium-sized, fragrant, pale silvery pink flowers. Ideal for covering fences, or can be pruned to form a spreading shrub.

‘Parade’, 3 to 3.5 m (10 to 12 ft). A vigorous climber, also good for pillars; large, deep carmine-rose flowers, very freely produced and scented, but tending to droop slightly. It is especially useful for walls of north or east aspect.

‘Parkdirektor Riggers’, 3.5 m (12 ft). A vigorous Kordes climber, suitable also for tall pillars; large clusters of semi-double, deep-crimson flowers, well set off by the glossy, dark-green foliage. Must be dead-headed for recurrent bloom.

‘Pink Perpétué’, 1.8 to 2.4 m (6 to 8 ft). A vigorous grower but restrained in height; double, clear, bright-pink flowers, carmine on the reverse side, giving a two-toned effect. Free flowering with attractive foliage, and ideal for pillars or fences.

‘Rosy Mantle’, 2.4 m (8 ft). A useful climber for fences, pillars, or walls; fragrant, double, light-pink flowers.

‘Royal Gold’, 2.4 m (8 ft). A fairly vigorous grower; double, deep golden yellow hybrid-tea-type flowers. A fine variety, but it will not prosper on sites exposed to cold winds from the north or east.

‘Schoolgirl’, 2.4 to 3 m (8 to 10 ft). A vigorous climber; fragrant blooms in bright apricot-orange shades. Apt to become leggy at base.

‘Swan Lake’, 2.1 to 2.4 m (7 to 8 ft). A strong-growing rose with abundant foliage; well-formed, large, silvery white flowers tinged pink in centre. Resistant to wet weather. May need protection against black spot.

‘White Cockade’, 1.8 m (6 ft). A variety of restricted growth; shapely, double, white flowers. Useful for a low wall, fence, or pillar, or as a shrub.

‘Zephirine Drouhin’ see Bourbon roses, to which it belongs. It is included here because it is a recurrent flowering climber.


Tall growers

The vigorous ramblers and climbers listed below include several of the older varieties. Although all these varieties flower only once in the season, they are useful for covering tall structures such as arches, pergolas, and high walls, or for concealing an ugly shed.

‘Alberic Barbier’, 7.6 m (25 ft). A very vigorous rambler with almost evergreen foliage; pure yellow buds open to large double blooms of creamy white with some fragrance. Excellent for walls or for scrambling into an old tree. Flowers profusely.

‘Albertine’, 4.6 m (15 ft). A very vigorous, woody rambler; warm coppery pink buds open to strongly scented, salmon-pink flowers. Flowers early, and is abundant in June. A very popular variety, which should have some of the old flowering wood removed to encourage young vigorous growth. Excellent for walls or fences. Resists bad weather, but is inclined to mildew.

‘Chaplin’s Pink Climber’. A very vigorous grower, 3 m (10 ft) high, often used for covering fences; large, semi-double, bright pink flowers, per- haps a bit garish but certainly popular.

‘City of York’, 3.5 m (12 ft). A rambler with considerable vigour; large, freely produced, fragrant creamy white flowers and luxuriant foliage.

‘Climbing Cecile Brunner’, 6.1 m (20 ft). A vigorous climber for a wall or fence; very free flowering, small, blush-pink blooms deepening towards the centre. Greatly admired by those who appreciate the delicate, hybrid tea-like form of the flowers. Main display in June, but a few blooms later.

‘Constance Spry’, 2.4 m (8 ft). A very vigorous shrub rose which can be trained to pillars or walls, as it thrives with some support; large, well-formed, deep glowing pink flowers, paler towards the outside. Strongly scented, it has become very popular because of its sumptuous, old-world appeal ice.

‘Crimson Shower’, 2.4 m (8 ft). A vigorous rambler, which owes part of its popularity to the fact that it flowers late, when most non-recurrent varieties have finished; abundant, small, rosette-shaped, crimson flowers which last for a considerable period. Good for training on a bank or fence, or as a weeping standard. Prune old flowering growths away once flowering ends.

‘Easlea’s Golden Rambler’, 3.7 m (12 ft). A vigorous rambler which is really a climber, and is thus suitable for pergola or pillar; strongly scented, large, semi-double, creamy yellow flowers of hybrid tea type. Flowers freely in June. Should be pruned back to young growths after flowering ceases.

‘Elicite et Perpétué’, 6 m (20 ft). A vigorous and extremely hardy rambler, often found on old walls facing north; creamy white, button-like flowers produced in masses. One of the most charming varieties, with a long season of flowering around mid-July.

‘Francis E. Lester’, 4.6 m (15 ft). A vigorous rambler; large clusters of strongly scented, small, single, creamy white flowers with a flush of pink becoming white. A fine specimen can be seen on the office wall of the RHS at Wisley. It has a crop of small orange-red hips from October onwards. Lovely for growing on a small tree, or it will form a large bush.

‘Francois Juranville’, 7.6 m (25 ft). A vigorous rambler; strongly scented, salmon-pink flowers with somewhat quilled petals. An old favourite which will cover a large area on a pergola, or scramble into an old tree.

‘Lawrence Johnston’, up to 6 m (20 ft). A vigorous climber; spectacular, strongly scented, semi-double, bright-yellow flowers. Main display in June, with intermittent blooms later. Ideal for a pergola, as can be seen at the RNRS gardens at St Albans; can also be grown as a shrub if strong growths are shortened.

‘Leverkusen’, up to 3 m (10 ft). A Kordes climber of moderate vigour; scented, semi-double, creamy yellow flowers blend well with other varieties, and are freely produced. Main flowering period in June; a few recurrent blooms also occur.

‘Maigold’, 2.4 to 3.3 m (8 to 12 ft). A very vigorous, extremely thorny variety, which will attain maximum height on a wall; large, scented, semi-double, bronze-yellow blooms with ellow stamens. Flowers early in the season. Can also be grown as a large, open shrub, especially useful for planting against fences.

‘Mme Gregoire Stacchelin’, up to 4.6 m (15 ft). A vigorous climber on a wall, where it is especially effective if grown against grey stone or white-painted bricks; sumptuous, large, scented, clear-pink blooms, with deeper reverse. Flowers early in June. Well suited to north-facing walls.

‘Paul’s Lemon Pillar’, 3.5 m (12 ft). A vigorous climber; large, strongly scented, creamy yellow flowers of hybrid tea type, sometimes almost of exhibition standard. A good wall rose.

‘Paul’s Scarlet Climber’, 3 m (10 ft). A climber of medium vigour but of a profusely flowering habit; semi- double, scarlet-red flowers in clusters.

‘Sanders’ White Rambler’, 3.5 m (12 ft). A vigorous rambler; small, scented, semi-double, white flowers in freely produced clusters. Most fragrant of the many varieties of Rosa wichuraiana, it is ideal as a weeping standard. Prune away old flowering growths when flowering has finished.

‘The Garland’, 4.6 m (14 ft). A very vigorous rambler, sometimes found in old gardens where it is valued for its scent; very abundant pale creamy salmon flowers, fading to creamy white. Can be pruned to form a loose, open shrub, grown on a wall, or trained up a small tree.

‘Veilchenblau’, 3.7 m (12 ft). A vigorous rambler, often called the ‘blue’ rose because of its distinctive purple-violet colour. It is apt to fade to lilac grey in hot sun, so it should be planted in shade against a wall. It is sweetly fragrant.

‘Violette’. Up to 4.6 m (15 ft) if growing in good soil; freely flowering, slightly scented, maroon-purple flowers, which fade to maroon-grey unless the plant is grown against a shady pergola or wall. An almost thornless variety.

‘Wedding Day’, 7.6 m (25 ft). A rampant rambler which readily grows over old garden sheds, barns, hedges, or up into trees; flower clusters arc pale creamy yellow on opening, turning white and becoming pink-spotted as they age — a feature approved by some but disliked by others. Most imposing if grown as a standard, when its vigour can be controlled through the stem and by pruning.

Note, I have omitted ‘Dorothy Perkins’ from this section. Although much loved, and still a feature of many cottage gardens, it is far too susceptible to mildew to deserve recommendation.


If you are looking to identify a particular rose, i can recommend this HelpMeFind Website

11. March 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Climber Plants, Roses | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Rambler Roses and Climbing Roses


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