Climbing Roses

I need some suggested resources for information on growing and caring for climbers. I have a presentation to do in April of this year for our local rose club monthly meeting and want to begin my research now. Any comments or leads will be greatly appreciated. And, going along with hybridizing, I will begin to incorporate climbers into my breeding program.

Most climbers sold today are sports of hybrid teas and don’t repeat very well. There are a great many seedling grown genetic climbers that repeat more freely. They are also generally less stiff in habit and therefore easier to train.

Most of the public doesn’t have a clue as to what they are purchasing and I think many of these lesser known varieties suffer for their association to their stiffer and less free flowering relations.

The public generally responds to name recognition which is why these climbing sports of known hybrid teas do so well in retail settings.

High Hopes and Sympathie produce seed like mad if youre interested in some easy breeders. Not sure on germination yet for these 2 because this is my first year trying Sympathie for breeding and the crows keep stealing my High Hopes hips haha. Had a huge bunch of High Hopes x Outta the Blue hips and they went missing and my only guess was the crows had some fun.

Good luck with the climbers.


Sorry but I can’t help but imagine the interesting roses popping up where the crows deposit the seeds. Surprise for somebody!

LOL I had never thought of that. I was more angry than anything else. I suspect that they just like playing with them and if they had eaten them that the droppings would land into a contourted willow orchard that is nearby since all the crows reside in the VERY large Oregon Oak in the center of the orchard. I dont know if a seedling could survive that. Then again it could have ended up on a fly by in someone’s yard. Come to think of it all, I should try that cross again. This year I tried Shocking Blue with High Hopes but Outta the Blue sounds more intriguing now that Im forced to think about it again!

Im sure there’s a point in there some where…

I’d add that Berries ‘n’ Cream and Fourth of July are both prolific producers of hips as well.


From what I heard, Fourth of July is not good as a seed parent, but would work as pollen. I’m not positive about that fact,but thought it was from Tom Carruth, the hybridizer. As for a climber, the most prolific hip setter we have is Harlekin from Kordes. We have quite a few seeds from last seasons crosses in stratification so will report on the viability later. Harlekin accepted pollen from everything we put on it. The hips were huge and had from 25 - 45 seeds in every hip.

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A Climber that I was impressed with when seeing it a few years ago on Vancouver island was Cl. Mrs. Sam McGredy. It is difficult to find and I regret I didn’t get this particular specimen propagated (I may still be able to do so). What impressed me was the very large hips, and of course I am thinking that it might be very good to breed with.

At one time I would have said using climbing sports for breeding was a bad idea until I grew ‘Orange Velvet’ (CL, Troicana x Swarthmore). It really isnt trainable (stems dont bend and are very straight) but has made an excellent pillar rose that has 3 bloom cycles per year with barely any maintenance involved.

John Moe:

What kind of results have you had from Harlekin since your last posting in 2004. It seems to be the most eager rose my daughter and I have for formings hip – all OP as all our bushes are new this spring and we are waiting until 2009 to perform crosses.

Bob in New Orleans

I bought ‘Sky’s The Limit’ this year. Very vigorous. Makes LOTS of large hips just filled with seed.


Sky’s theLimit sounds geat. I checked it out on helpmefind, but there was no reference to disease resistance there or in nursery listings. My daughter and I have no spray gardens in the epicenter of blackspot country. What has been your blackspot experience with this rose and what kind of climate do you have. Ours is EXTREMELY hot and humid.

Thanks, Bob in New Orleans

It is susceptible to BS. It WILL have it in a no-spray situtation. The species inclination in it does ensure (at least for me) that it is more vigorous than the blackspot, much so for a yellow.

Another climber I bought this year, and has proven a winner- also VERY vigorous, is ‘Sequoia Ballet’, it sets heps also. Slightly less susceptible to BS than ‘Sky’s the Limit’- at least in my garden. And it blooms pink and CREAM that fades to white…prettier than most pictures suggest. Mine’s about to bloom again and I’m gonna try and take pictures this time.

Also one I’m interested in obtaining is ‘Climbing Shot Silk’. Anyone have any experience growing it and/or know of a source for it?

Climbing Shot Silk

Roses of Yesterday used to sell it, you might inquire if they can propagate it for you.

Gratuitous picture of ‘Sequoia Ballet’, the tips of the buds were eaten by bugs causing them to brown. Should be an aars winner…If it didn’t fade so quickly, it could almost be called apricot.

It would be fun to cross it with ‘Sky’s the Limit’, I guess.

Curious, do the ‘Sequoia Ballet’ blooms turn green for you as they finish? They do for me!

Odd you would say that as it was sent as a substitute for ‘Rainforest’. I haven’t noticed any green but mine is young yet; I will have to give it closer scrutiny.

In trying to help the op. I’ve been wanting to read this book- you may want to try and find it.

Climbing and rambling roses are sources of grace and dignity in the finest gardens. This book is the first completely new volume in almost 40 years to grapple with the histories, lineages, and special charms of these aristocrats of the garden. Illustrated with 200 color plates, Climbing Roses of the World presents climbers of every type, from the parent Rosa species to the multifloras, noisettes, and modern climbers, to name just a few. The most comprehensive and thoroughly researched study of climbers and ramblers ever published, Climbing Roses of the World will stand as the definitive treatment for years to come. No gardener will want to be without this unique source of information.


Climbing roses, Gardening / Flowers / Roses, Gardening / General

More details

Climbing Roses of the World

By Charles Quest-Ritson

Photographs by Charles Quest-Ritson

Published by Timber Press, 2003

ISBN 0881925632, 9780881925630

306 pages

With all due respect to the author, much has happened in the world of roses, of all types since 2003.

There is no way a traditionally printed reference can keep up with changes in the world of roses.

The internet has changed everything. Updates are made constantly. This is the information age.

Hi Robert,

There is no way a traditionally printed reference can keep up with changes in the world of roses. The internet has changed everything.

True but it has risks that hard copies don’t. What do you do when the power goes out or, worse, when the plug gets pulled at the online database?

much has happened in the world of roses, of all types since 2003.

Such as? I’m not disagreeing with you, just wondering what you think some of the changes are.