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Choosing the right climbing rose is best done online first before you look for one at your local nursery or an online nursery. A bit of thought now could save you a lot of heartache. That's what I did. I did a pretty thorough search online and I'm glad I put in the effort. And I've learned a lot about other climbers I had never heard of. Any rose which begins with 'Cl.' or 'Climbing' is a 'sport' - a genetic mutation - of its parent. eg. Climbing Cecile Brunner came from one bloom on one Cecile Brunner Floribunda rose bush.
Remember that Modern Roses of any kind, climbing or not, are 'officially' those which have been bred since 1867.
Old climbing roses are rose cultivars whose canes or stems grow longer than the normal old garden roses. In old garden roses, this is their natural habit, the way they've always grown, but in the modern rose climbers, it is the result of mutations, either spontaneous or man made.
If I choose roses to go on this site, my main considerations are: length of flowering time; fragrance; height; hardiness and beauty of the blossoms and of course Disease Resistance. Of course, others turn up which I just can't resist, but they are my main criteria for a decent climbing rose.
The best thing to do if you are looking for all the details on a special rose is to type in the magic word: 'Buy Rosa Mutabilis', for example, because this brings up the actual sellers who give a good description because they want to sell the rose. You may need to look at several, because they never have all the details (not for me, anyway) on one site. Then you are in a much better position rather than just going ahead and buying a Rose Climber which may not have all the requirements you want.
Usually they will be 'bare-rooted'. If this scares you, don't worry. If I did it, then you can. It's easy! Remember, roses are tough and they survived even my mistakes which were many. Just follow the directions and relax and enjoy the experience. I learnt such a lot from it, even after leaving them in the bucket of water too long and things like that!
At the top of any Climbing Rose list must be the Climbing'Peace' Rose, also known as 'Madame Meilland', the most favoured rose in the world. It has all the attributes of the original 'Peace' shrub rose, but it is a 'sport'. (A sport is taken when a plant shows just one flower which is different - sometimes a completely different colour) - and we are so lucky to have several 'sports' of this beautiful, perfect rose.
So delicate and sweetly simple. The climbing rose 'Mermaid'.
Mr. Lincoln. Fragrant Hybrid Tea Climbing Rose.
Time after time when I search for roses online, the same names keep coming up, along with some amazing surprises eg. Mr. Lincoln now has a Climbing form. I can't believe it. The shrub form is perfect, so what's this? Rose Heaven? Highly fragrant. My daughter has just cut her first bloom and inside the house, the fragrance is divine. See more about Mr. Lincoln on Fragrant Roses.
But she made a mistake, one which many of us need to learn from: If you buy a rose from an indoor warehouse or nursery, never put it straight out in the sun just because it says 'full sun'. It was a very hot day and guess what, after she had picked the first flower, the second shrivelled up and died overnight. So it's in full shade with plenty of water and we have our fingers crossed.
This one deserves a fanfare. The climbing rose 'Cocktail'.
The following 'modern'climbers are the ones I love the most. If you don't see the climber you are looking for on this page, check the Rambling Rose page. Climbers have blooms and leaves in groups of five, whereas Ramblers have blooms and leaves in groups of seven. Nature is amazing.
Who can resist the 'Climbing Iceberg'? The best climber of all, but not quite enough fragrance for me. However it is tough and flowers for a very long period. It looks great in big pots either side of the front entrance to your house.
The original 'Gold Bunny' was bred in France in 1978 by Meilland. Light gold and with a light fragrance, it blooms very early in Spring and right through to early Winter. On top of that, it also tolerates heat and drought well. The climbing version was bred in 1991 and will grow to 3 metres.
Outstanding beauty: The 'Altissimo' Climbing rose. Will grow to 15 feet with repeat flowering during Summer and Autumn. Large blooms with a mild fragrance. This rose is best trained early to grow along rather than upwards as it tends to flower at the top. It is also called 'Altus'. Photo Credit: Stan Shebs.
There is nothing quite like 'Graham Thomas'. It glows! (Graham Thomas is a noted English rose breeder). As a bush it is perfect, and as a climbing rose, words fail me. If you love yellow roses, then this rose is a must have. It was bred by David Austin in 1983 and has a long list of awards. It is very fragrant and will grow to 8 feet. A repeat bloomer from Spring through to Autumn, it won the Henry Edland Medal for Fragrance in 2000. And as an added bonus, it loves the heat.
The divine 'Apricot Nectar' is a climbing rose as well as a shrub. It is hardy and quite vigorous with a strong fruity fragrance (very nice, actually). I have lived with this rose, both as a shrub and as a climber, and I loved it. It has such a beautiful perfume. It will not let you down with its repeat flowering and will even reach about 12 feet. Introduced in 1965 by Boerner from Jackson and Perkins. The shrub form won the AARS Award in 1966. A rose of beauty and fragrance. Photo Credit: Stan Shebs.
'Bantry Bay' is a superb rose which was bred from the very popular 'New Dawn'. Flowering period: late Spring until the first frost and always in bloom. A vigorous climber which will reach 12 feet. It has huge semi-double blossoms which are mildly fragrant.
The beautiful 'Blaze Superior' Climber will grow to 15 feet. It has clusters of large (3") red blooms. It is hardy and disease-resistant, with a mild fragrance. But best of all it flowers for 4 months. From Spring toAutumn.
Floribunda Climbing "Dublin Bay" (McGredy 1975).
Red and robust with double petals 4" across, this is a magnificent climbing rose. Every now and then you stumble upon a sure winner and this is one of those rare finds. Why so special? Because of its parentage: It's parents are Bantry Bay and ... Altissimo.
Awards: Hamilton - Best Climber 1992.
Auckland Rose of the Year 1993.
RHS/RNRS Award of Garden Merit 1993.
Grow it on a pillar, a fence or in a pot and it just might reach 12 feet. And it is fragrant.
The Floribunda Climber 'Handel'.
What could be sweeter? Named after my favourite composer, I had no idea it was a climber. It blooms from Spring right through to Autumn in shades of cream, pink and red. Vigorous and very fragrant. It will climb up to 7 feet. Next on my list to buy for sure. Bred by McCredy IV in 1965.
I was told that this rose is only once-flowering, but maybe not. It grows straight up, to 18 feet, has little fragrance, but it is so sweet and colourful and it is very vigorous. Like a few other roses of today, the petals darken with age eg. Chinensis Mutabalis and 'Joseph's Coat'. This gives rise to the appearance of different colours on the same bloom. This site does it greater justice: Climbing Masquerade in all its splendor.
Climbing 'Papa Meilland'. A miracle, a sport of its father 'Papa' Meilland'. It blooms from Spring through to Autumn. Its flowers are double, very fragrant and last a long time in the house. Will grow to 6 feet and is as hardy as its Dad. Utter perfection! Velvety petals. See it on Fragrant Roses.
The sumptuous 'Golden Showers'. Flowers from Spring through to Autumn. Will grow to 12 feet and is very fragrant and heat resistant.