Show Your Climbing Roses Some Romantic Love February 

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Despite the blustery Snow showers and storms in February that continue to threaten travel distribution across the UK!  Gardeners still manage to retain a romanticized view of work to do in the garden, which must continue regardless of the latest weather forecast.

When you’re charged with the restoration of a prestigious garden there’s no time to go dormant and with this relatively mild Winter, it looks likely that the traditional Valentine’s day and it’s association with the beginnings of Spring may not be far from the truth.

Romantic gestures, cards, and gifts maybe our modern take on February’s celebration of Valentine’s day but traditionally St Valentines has different connotations depending on your country of origin. In Latin America, for example, its is regarded as a day of love and friendship, in Brazil, it’s ‘Lovers Day’ and in Japan, it’s the women who buy chocolates for all their male co-workers!

A love for gardening is a passion that is likely to remain with you for many years, in fact, many people become career changer’s and choose to garden for a better quality of life, love, and learning. I’ve never heard of anyone giving up gardening for a desk job?

That’s quite enough about romance, we’ve got climbing roses to prune and neglected plants to tend to before Spring gets ahead of us gardeners.

Tangled overgrown and yet still attempting to flower this velvety crimson red climbing rose deserves some affection. Removing the dead, diseased and damaged stems must always be a priority, this allows you to select only the healthiest stems and new growth for a new season of productive growth and flowers.

A climbing rose can quickly become disorderly and require some drastic pruning to train it back to shape. Carefully selecting a framework and pruning upright stems a few buds shy of the main stem that is tied in horizontally will encourage strong healthy growth that quickly develops flower buds.

Real gardeners work in all-weather! I have been interviewing for staff all this week and during a guided tour of the garden, a candidate informed me that during Winter gardeners should be cleaning pots by a log burning stove, or working in heated glasshouses because there is nothing to do in the garden. “Ok bye, thanks for coming!”

Creating a framework from your aging rose stems, ideally replacing these woody stems every 3/5 years. Tying in vigorous growth from young sturdy stems that arise from just above ground level is an important aspect of pruning a climbing rose.

Ideally, you want to create a fan shape frame from your main stems that are trained to almost a horizontal along the strong support wires. This action encourages strong buds to form that make vertical growth and quickly become an abundance of flowering stems.

Flowering on a wintery day in February, Roses can continue to flower in all but the coldest of Winters. Roses flowering in winter usually occurs because the shrub has been neglected or left unpruned and whilst this may be a welcome sight as you walk around the garden, it can also be responsible for overwintering pests and disease that selective pruning would keep in cultural check.

Grow with me on


Stephen Pryce-Lea

Head Gardener, Estate Manager, Garden Designer, Operations Manager

and International Horticultural Consultant




“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, when you find it in a Garden it’s like finding Paradise“

iGrowHort – A Head Gardener’s Horticultural Journey of love, life and learning.


About Head Gardener 331 Articles
Award winning, 40 something year old professional plantsman and horticulturalist with National Trust, private parks and estate management background. My vast plant knowledge and hands on techinical experience, afforded me the opportunity to work in various horticultural landscapes, in the UK, USA & Eastern Europe. Having worked in both garden retail & the design service industry gave me the practical diversity and managerial skill set, required for running a large prestigious gardens and stately homes. I strongly believe knowledge is to be shared and have worked closely with people and staff of all ages and abilities keen to develop their passion for gardening, including groups of children, special needs and adults. I have hosted guided walks, talks and tours for those keen to learn about cultivated and wild plants, garden development, history and design. As an member of the NNCPG and National Trust, I am actively involved in the preservation of several important plant collections both in public and private gardens throughout the UK. “It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, in a garden it’s paradise” Follow @IGrowHort on GardenTags. Stephen is passionate about gardening as Head Gardener with a team of ten staff he manages a prestigious Cheshire country estate of 55 acres, inc wild flower meadows, woodland, organic kitchen and formal gardens. Follow Stephen today”

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