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I've just bought my first property and while the trades do their thing on the house, I thought I'd make myself useful and make a start on the garden. The previous owner passed away in April after a long period suffering from Alzheimer's so as you can imagine, the once-pristine garden had deteriorated into a tangled mess of brambles and sprawling, gangly bushes. There was very little which could be salvaged so I've cleared all but a handful of plants and will start again from scratch.

At the very back of the garden are three established roses which have grown really tall but which lack any shoots or branches below head height. I'm loathe to rip them up since the plants are so established so I've measured up to replace and extend the tatty trellis behind the roses with a view to training them along to create a living wall hiding the garage behind but have the following questions:

1) From the pictures, can you identify which kind of roses I have? The two on the right are clearly different from the bushy one on the left but would all three lend themselves to being trained along a trellis?

2) What can I do to regenerate/rejuvenate the plants? The stems are very woody below the 5' mark but the flower line is far to high as it stands (above the roof of the garage!). Ideally I'd like as much of the trellis as possible to eventually be covered in flowering branches.

3) When should I look to prune the plants? I'm worried about exposing the cut stems to frost but similarly, an 8ft rose could be pretty vulnerable if we have storms this winter. Which is the lesser of the two evils?

(Note: The left-most rose was being held up by the mass of brambles beneath it and has fallen forward now the ground has been cleared but it stands just as tall as the rose next to it when supported. It's by far the most top-heavy of the three plants).

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer. I'm looking forward to getting stuck in and developing my green fingers but until now the only experience I've had is growing fruit and veg in a patch in my parents' garden so ornamental plants are a bit of a mystery!

Jess is in the Garden

You could try supporting the roses for now, to protect from wind rock and pruning them hard back in the Spring perhaps. Give them a good mulch for now. I wouldn't prune them hard now as it's risky with night frosts closing in. Give them a mulch now and again in Spring (I use manure for mine). It's great that you've done some maintenance work to your new garden already, which mean you'll have less of that to do in Spring and more time to concentrate on the plants themselves 

I can't see what type of rose you have from your photos, but by the Spring you'll soon find out - it's very exciting to inherit unknowns!


If you don't like the roses, you cannot plant another rose in the same space without taking some precautions to avoid 'rose repeat disease'. If this will be the case, come next summer, post a thread about it.

I would cut them down by 1/3 now, to reduce wind rock, stabilise them with stakes and then once spring has started weather-wise; late Feb to mid March(?) look at the RHS site, or similar and prune back to about knee height, cutting cleanly at the angle and area that they tell you to. Then feed them exactly as directed on the 'rose food' packet, no more!Good luck, roses are so rewarding for just a little effort.

They are very 'leggy' and whatever kind of rose they are, they could do with rejuvenating after some years of neglect.


If that was a nice garden there are likely to be bulbs coming up in the spring. I'd just tidy up a bit, take the roses back  as artjak suggested, prune any deciduous bushes that look as though they need it, hang up some bird feeders and wait and see.


I think that at one time the trellis extended all the way along that bed - the rose on the right and in the centre look like old climbing roses to me, and may rejuvenate well.  I think the rose to the far left (the one with the yellow leaves) looks more like a rambler of some sort.  All three will respond to being cut back as has been suggested.  They will then shoot again from the bottom.  

You can then tie them into the trellis (the one without trellis will need to have it replaced) training the stems out near to the horizontal - this will encourage the roses to develop side shoots which will bear more flowers. 

Cut them back now to prevent windrock, but in the spring you can tidy them up properly, pruning to buds which will grow in the direction you want them to. Give them a mulching of well rotted farm yard manure now (not touching the stems) and when you prune them in the spring give them a feed with Fish Blood and Bone. 

When they flower show us some photos and we'll have fun trying to identify them.



Thanks all for your responses. I'm replacing the trellis on Thursday with two 6' wide panels (i.e. almost the whole width of the bed) and will trim, secure and feed all three plants as suggested. Hopefully with a little TLC I can bring them back to their best!



I would cut those roses right down as they will produce new shoots and you'll have flowers. I did this to a climbing Arthur Bell, delicious perfume and the flowers start off an intense yellow and fade to pale lemon. It survived the winter and produced lots of flowers.


Hi everyone. Unfortunately I dont have a photo but I've inherited a rose also about 8 ft tall  but in my case its in a flowerbed position with no trellis so am assuming its a very outgrown shrub rose. Its June now so am well past the usual pruning window in Spring. I have removed all the dead wood...but what would you do now ? Not prune until autumn ? Seems like a long wait. I only have growth in the top 1 foot or so. Thanks in advance

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