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I have an Ispahan rose which was beautiful for several years then started to develop long blind shoots which didn't appear to be suckers so I just pruned out.  Last year it was so big I had to cut it back really hard - down to 2 feet or so.  This year it's produced loads of blind shoots which would overwhelm the flowering shoots so I've had to cut them down. I've obviously done something wrong.  Any thoughts or advice would be welcome.


I don't know this rose but wonder if the 'blind' shoots are ones which would flower in the second year


Yes Nut, the Ispahan rose is a Damask which only flowers on old wood never on new growth.  

They should only ever be lightly pruned, cutting out dead stems and weak twiggy growth after flowering., and side shoots can be shortened at the same time, but part of the attraction of the damask group of roses is their elegant growth which should be preserved.  It should never be pruned in the early spring like a Hybrid Tea.

Hard pruning often leads to dieback and possibly the loss of the bush.

I think all you can do is leave well alone for the next few years and give this poor rose the chance to recover  - fingers crossed 

I've just checked and David Austin stocks this rose - I suggest you contact them and see if they have any advice.





...yes I think that's what has happened here... Ispahan flowers at midsummer only, one fairly long flush, and it flowers on last years wood, which it sounds as though you've been cutting off...  this is a rose that you must give it it's head so to speak, and let it grow without too much pruning...

...also, the best way with it, if you can, is to peg it down, by this I mean we take the long shoots that have grown up [that will flower next year] and bend them down in an arch shape towards the soil, being careful you don't snap them off...then tie with string and tie the string to a large hook which you will have hammered into the ground.... or long nail even...

you get a lot more flowers this way and the rose will take on a 'fan' shape...

I grew Ispahan's in my Cornish garden, had 3 together, they grew to about 6 or 7 foot and this is how I dealt with them.... it's a glorious rose when grown in this manner...  it must not be treated like a modern rose...

oops... I see Dovefromabove has already covered it... I was a bit late there


 Nice to have confirmation from you Salino - satisfying to see that we East Anglians concur.  

Good idea about pegging the long growth down 



...thank you Dove... well, it's one of the places for roses isn't it...?... have you ever been to, or heard of, Mannington Hall gardens, up near Aylsham...?  home of the Walpole family...?  it's wonderful, I used to go there nearly every year... but not for a while now... thousands of roses, especially the older types... I used to prefer it to the better known National Trust garden at Mottisfont in Hampshire....


On my to do list as soon as I retire Salino as it's really not very far from us - have I mentioned that I'm retiring soon - thought I had 


..aww I didn't know that... must have been asleep..  I am too...

Salino year... but I hope to carry on working a little..... a very little... as little as possible in keeps the mind active and you meet people... 1 day a week should suffice...


I've got much too much that's important to do to be able to find any time at all to work 

Gardening, painting, writing, singing, going to the theatre, listening to music, walking, sewing, cooking, visiting friends, visiting gardens (with friends?) - maybe we should meet up at Mannington next summer - you could show me around?   You've just said that meeting people is important 


...ooh that would be nice, thank you for thinking of me... let us see how things are next summer, hopefully will have more time than I do at present...... I think you might agree with me when I say that I'm busier now than I've ever been in my life... even in my teens' and 20's.... goodness knows what's happened..... unfortunately mine are work and domestic duties rather than hobbies as such, as it seems to be with you and you have such a varied range going on there.... where have I gone wrong...?


That's why I have to give up work - I need to do all those things - they're all things that are important to me but I hardly ever do any of them at the moment - so when the retirement option arrived I grasped it - 5th November is my last day at work, so next summer I should be just getting into the swing of having fun 

Apologies to the original poster by the way, it seems we've rather veered off course - but I think we'd answered the question. 

Thanks to all for info but unfortunately I still have a problem in as much as I don't have the space to take your advice.  I love the pinning down idea.  Sounds great.  However I cut it down after it flowered last year because it had reached almost 7 ft high and across and had become too big for the space I had.  It's been wonderful for all of 20 years and last year had hundreds of flowers but if I can't control it I may have to be drastic.  On the bright side I did manage to root two cuttings from last year (one of which is actually budded) so maybe I can start again - that is if I can find a space! 

I can highly recommend retirement so hope you two have a nice time when you meet up. 


Lots of people get plants that are too big for the space, it's hard when they've outgown it

Agree about retirement


Hi guys, hope you don't mind my joining in but so lovely to hear fans of the 'old roses'. Just to add if Ispahan is getting too large for the space, then Leda is supposed to stay smaller and more compact. Apparently there are two forms of this the'painted' Damask ad the pink form.

Obviously Ispahan is enjoying where it is if your plant is doing so well, always a shame when things just get too big however.

The thing with old roses is that they do have particlular habits and have to be given room to do their thing. I would just add, that Beales would be good to contact for advice on classic roses as they are experts in that particlular line of roses.

Good luck Fairlea with whatever you do with your rose


..thank you Fairlea...

hi Sunnydayz...  if only it were - more often...

Leda - the Painted Damask...a very beautiful old rose indeed...

 another smaller one I like very much is a Portland called Comte de Chambord, in fact I would rather have this one than the popular modern variety called 'Gertrude Jekyll', one which I no longer grow....

what roses do you grow then...?

Hi Salino,

I have rosa mundi (love the history and folk lore that goes with it too), tuscany superb, the bourbon louise odier (rescued from my college when i was there), rosa glauca, macrantha raubritter. But I do have some newer ones the Austins Lady Emma Hamilton, I do have Gertrude Jekyll, new this year. Deep red flower carpet for a difficult situation on the front garden and also bought from GW live this year whilst I was on the Plant Heritage stand - Jacqueline du pre.

would love more but garden's only small. But whilst at college I worked voluntarily for a year on their national collection of old roses, and was hooked! pardon the pun.



...a fine collection... I've grown a few of those, Louise Odier, and Glauca.. also GJ as I said... nothing wrong with red flower carpet either... I grow a similar white one... these are very useful modern roses...

appreciate your enthusiasm... I wish I grew more but I don't have the space either, the only old fashioned I grow are 'Mutabilis' a China rose, and 'Blush Noisette' a climber... also another China called 'Sanguinea'... otherwise mostly modern these favourite rose is the very scentless 'Bonica' I just think it's fantastic otherwise...

 always want to grow more but days of big gardens are long gone for me...



I've grown two Bonicas, they are just gorgeous aren't they?  They just flower and flower, and what a pretty flower it is.  As you say, if only it was scented - but plant a Graham Thomas honeysuckle behind it and you won't notice the lack of scent. 

Have you tried cutting a few of them and mixing them with alchemilla mollis  in a little jug - absolute magic 

We planted a Frances E Lester ramber last year - the plan is for it to scramble over the fence and up into the ash tree on the bank - it's such a pretty rose