How to make a rose arch
At Mottisfont in Hampshire, the Rose Garden is a summer highlight. Jonny Bass, previous Head Gardener there, explains how to create a beautiful rose arch in your own garden.
Choose an arch and roses
Find an arch that’s right for the space – you can use metal or wood. We use both at Mottisfont.
Choose between ramblers and climbers for your roses. We use ramblers – they flower for only about four weeks but grow quickly and create a mass of flowers. Climbers repeat-flower from early May throughout the summer. They grow more slowly but they’re easier to manage. Once you’ve chosen, buy two of the same rose. The variety Rosa gallica has wonderful blooms with heavenly scents.
Prepare the ground
Secure your arch in the ground and dig a planting hole at either side. The holes should be at least twice the size of the pot the roses are in. Scatter some compost in the hole (we also add mycorrhizal fungi) and over the roots, and plant your roses firmly.
Train your roses
You’ll soon get long stems appearing. Spread them out and secure them to the arch using garden twine. It’s important not to remove long shoots, as these will become the flowering wood.
Keep the rose bushes watered
Cut the bottom off a plastic drinking bottle and remove the cap. Insert the bottle into the ground upside-down, near the roots of your rose. Keep it topped up with water to stop the rose drying out.
Pruning and feeding your rose bushes
Once your rose has finished flowering, prune back flowering shoots to just above where they join the main stem. Feed before spring with a layer of mulch around the roots to nourish the plant.
If your garden isn’t big enough for a rose arch, train a rose up a single fence post. You’ll end up with around 2m of roses in a small patch.
The National Collection of old-fashioned roses reaches its peak flowering season in June for a spectacular annual display.
Head curator Dr Sally-Anne Huxtable explains how to identify the many roses steeped in symbolism, history and meaning that you can see in National Trust collections.
Recreate your favourite rose gardens with the National Trust rose collection, created in collaboration with Blue Diamond garden centres. At least 10% of all sales will support conservation work at the places in our care.