Cloud Pruning A Climbing Rose

Rose - Teasing Georgia, David Austin rose

I first saw cloud pruning done at Peninsula Park rose garden in Portland, Oregon. I went there for a one-day rose pruning course and the person teaching it introduced me to cloud pruning. Cloud pruning a rose is where you take the whippy young growth and bend it around in a circle so that more of the leaf buds are exposed to light. French gardeners have been doing this for years since they discovered that if they bend their roses over and attach them to the ground they would get more flowers.

I was also interested to see a short piece featured on Gardener’s World last season featuring Jenny Barnes from Asthal Manor giving a tutorial on how she cloud prunes the many climbing roses there. After seeing this I decided it was time to give it a go, albeit on a much, much smaller scale.

  1. This is the rose that I chose to cloud prune. It’s Teasing Georgia by David Austin and has beautiful pale yellow flowers as you can see in the main photo. It has some nice whippy and long pieces so it’s perfect for cloud pruning.

2. Next take off all the leaves. They will probably drop anyway and you will be able to see the shape a little more clearly.

3. After you have pruned out anything that is dead, diseased or dying carefully curve the branches into circular shapes. Ideally, no branches will cross. I’m not sure I achieved that but I’m happy with the finished look.

This type of pruning should produce more flowers than last year, but I won’t know that until it flowers. In the meantime it looks interesting and has already garnered some questions from visiting gardeners. Watch this space.

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