Saving very old climbing roses
We just moved into a house with vestiges of an old cottage garden that we're excavating from under decades' worth of brambles. There is an old (30+ years) climbing rose that I have cleared of blackberries, etc. I have no experience with climbers and am trying to understand how best to train it on the fence it was planted near. Details:
- One huge rootstock, about four inches diameter
- Off of that grow four thick canes, starting ~three feet from the fence, each one foot apart off the rootstock
- They are four-ten feet of woody vine, then green; vines from fifteen to thirty feet long
- Haven't bloomed in as long any of the neighbors can remember (though the previous owner says they're purple)
My question: They are too long to simply train onto the fence as-is, since they will just show woody cane across the fence and then go high and climb (back) into the oak tree nearby. Should I cut them down and let the green regrow? Or secure them to the fence and twine the green parts back down and around? If I should cut them, where and when? It just started raining here in the Bay Area.