How to grow big roses
I was out today cutting back pittosporum and rosemary and hoisting up roses that had been squashed by this winter's snow and thinking about how dang BIG the roses had gotten and the methods I had employed to get them that way. We all want large, flourishing rosebushes, don't we? I've never seen anyone describe my own methods of cultivation on the forum, and I thought I'd let you all in on my secrets. So here goes...
First, when choosing the varieties you're going to plant, you must choose slightly more roses than you really reasonably have room for. You can choose varieties that get large, but that's not the only possibility open to you. Another option to pick out small roses, as long as they're Teas or Chinas and the size estimates in the catalog are taken from British references. That works, for example in the case of 'Mutabilis'. Failing that, try to get roses that the nursery staff has switched labels on, so that you plant the leggy sky-reaching climbing Hybrid Tea where the shrub was supposed to go. And be sure to get at least one rose that's described as a shrub and about whose climbing (and suckering, even when grafted) capacities the catalog doesn't say a word, such as 'Complicata'.
Okay. Now that you've picked out your roses, plant them in a spot that's hard to get at. A steep slope with rickety terracing is good, especially if you've been rather creaky lately and really don't want to fall off a ladder and land with a scream in 'Cl. Etoile de Hollande's thorns. If you have any doubts about the rather large number of roses you ordered, comfort yourself with the thought that the poor, mortar-laced, weed-supporting soil of the escarpment will contain their size. Plant your roses. Water them the first year, and put some hay around their bases when the ground looks bare. Admire them whenever you pass. Don't spray them, don't prune them, don't fertilize them, DON'T FUSS OVER THEM. This is why you put them where they're hard to get at and you risk killing yourself if you try. After a few years, your roses will be monsters. Guaranteed.