There are few plants that conjure up the romance of a rose as beautifully as the ramblers, while they can also instil terror into some gardeners! The rambling roses are big, and if space is limited they are best avoided. If, however, space isn’t limited and you want a fast growing rose that will cover a fence, wall, building or tree then the rambling roses might well be perfect for you!
There are many to choose from but the best loved is R. ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’, a vigorous rambler with charming double flowers that open with a pink flush before turning white. The flowers have a sweet scent that carries in warm air, just adding to the sheer romance of this wonderful plant.
Now to the terrifying bit; like most rambling roses, ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ can grow to about 30ft (10m) if left unchecked! If growing well it can do this alarmingly quickly, and if grown into a small tree it will use the tree’s branches as supports and each June the canopy will be covered with the beautiful pale rose flowers.
Most gardeners prefer to use rambling roses to cover man-made structures like walls and fences, and ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ will do this quickly but while remaining graceful. The secret to success is pruning; prune out the thickest shoots and those that have flowered, and retrain young growth against strong support wires. This is best done in winter when the rose’s stems are bare and you can see what you’re doing. The major advantage of growing ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ against a wall or fence is that you can get close to enjoy the flowers and scent.
Like most (if not all) rambling roses, ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ only flowers once, meaning that it produces all of its flowers in June/July and then produces small hips in autumn rather than flowering continually. The spectacular display usually lasts for around six weeks when the plant is big, so it really is worth growing! ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ is also largely pest and disease free, and is perfectly cold hardy. Rosa ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ is too vigorous for arches or small pergolas, but if you have something big to cover fairly quickly then this might be the plant for you!
Rosa ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ is widely available in the UK as a potted plant, and some nurseries might also supply it as a bare rooted plant in winter.