How to make a rose arch

Jonny Bass , Head Gardener at Mottisfont Jonny Bass Head Gardener at Mottisfont
Rose arch at Mottisfont

At Mottisfont in Hampshire, the Rose Garden is a summer highlight. Jonny Bass, previous Head Gardener at Mottisfont, explains how to create a beautiful rose arch in your own garden.

1. Choose your supplies

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 only flower for 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.

2. Preparation

Secure your arch in the ground and dig a planting hole at either end. 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.

3. Training

You’ll soon get long stems appearing. Spread them out and secure them using garden twine. It’s important not to remove long shoots, as these will become the flowering wood.

4. Watering

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.

5. Maintenance

Once your rose has finished flowering, prune back flowered shoots to where they join just above the main stem. Feed before spring with a layer of mulch around the roots to nourish the plant.

Best for...

Best for small spaces
Train a rose up a single fence post. You’ll end up with around 2m of roses in a small patch.
Best small shrubs
Gallica variety – wonderful blooms with heavenly smells.
Best of both worlds
For the scent of old-fashioned blooms that flower repeatedly, try David Austin roses.
Composite of recent magazine covers

Our members' magazine 

This is an extract from the Summer 2016 issue of the National Trust Magazine.