Neats Home Garden has some lovely old rambling roses. One of them, possibly Paul's Himalyan Musk, hangs off our one surviving Robinia tree, flowering in late spring in a cloud of fragrant pale pink blossoms. However, that same scented beauty also acts as a huge sail. The rose stems and branches are so thick and heavy that they made the tree "swing" in heavy winds.
We had already lost our other Robinia tree two years ago in heavy gales, and I didn't want to lose the remaining one. So a few months ago I asked a tree surgeon to give it a hefty prune. This was timely work indeed. Both rose and Robinia have survived the recent winds and rain unscathed.
... and what did not
Not so, however, the other rambling rose in the Wild Garden. This one, which produces lovely apricot-coloured blossom, had rambled so far that it hung in a thicket, not a cloud, over three trees - a walnut, crab apple, and magnolia. The walnut was so swamped by the rose, and also by the overgrown Viburnum shrubs which had grown up around it, that it split and fell during the recent gales.
So out we went, Mr. P and I, armed with chainsaw and hedge-trimmer, and cut back that rose and Viburnums from the two surviving threes. I painstakingly stripped it off the magnolia, trying to avoid damaging the already weakened branches.
Three hours later the poor magnolia was revealed to be a thin skeleton of only three branches - the rose had so smothered it that it had stopped developing strong side-branches. Hopefully, now that it's clear of that weight, and will benefit from some sunlight (and some top dressing), it might recover its strength and flower vigorously next spring.
I had planned to plant more rambling roses around the Garden. But now I think I won't. Trees are too precious. The Robinia tree, for instance, has a lovely fragrant flower - as does the magnolia. The crab apple produces a delicious crop. Rambling roses are glorious, but I can do without their beauty if instead my trees flourish and prosper.