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Rambling Rector: who would not be intrigued by this name. It brings to my mind a huge old vicarage with roses cascading over walls and doorways. Well my imagination wasn't far off because this is exactly what this rambling rose does .....it rambles...on ....and on.....and on. I first came across this plant in a beautifully illustrated book about roses,written by Peter Beale, a well known expert in roses.One page in particular caught my attention. The photograph depicted an old fashioned garden with huge walls, arches and even river banks, all of which were covered in a mass of frothy white flowers. The effect was stunning and I just knew I had to buy a similar rose for my back fence. Peter Beale's written description of this rose failed to deter me even though Rambling Rector was described as rampant and vigorous. "After all" I thought "I have a complete back fence, side fence and arch to cover". So armed with my limited information, I set off to search for the rose in my local garden centre, but to no avail.. I travelled further, seeking out the advice of plantsmen in nurseries far and wide, but my efforts failed again. Even rose specialists hadn't heard of this rose and certainly didn't have it in stock. All this however, egged me on further - I was more and more determined to find my elusive plant and I actually felt quite impressed with what I vainly considered to be my superior knowledge. Eventually, I came across Rambling Rector by accident when I wasn't even looking for it. Returning home from a bank holiday day out,I passed a very small and insignificant garden centre located almost next to Manchester Airport. I dropped in just on the offchance and my luck was in. This garden centre specialised in David Austin's old fashioned roses and there amongst other glorious specimens was .....yes you've guessed it.....Rambling Rector. I actually felt as though I'd won t
he lottery and armed with my prize I hurried home to settle the plant in its bed. Well two or three years have passed since then and Rambling Rector is rambling......oh lordy is he rambling......its rambling over my back fence, my side fence, my other side fence, my arch and up into my trees too. It really is an exquisite sight at the end of June,the flowers are so thick they give an almost snow like appearance. It's a fabulous rose, but if I'm perfectly honest it is not suitable for a normal sized back garden-it is far too vigorous. I'm convinced that at the rate it's going, it will soon cover not only my garden but all my neighbours gardens as well. It is so heavy it has almost demolished the arch on which it is growing. I am not deterred however, I couldn't wait for it to flower last year and will wait with equal anticipation for this June when I know the flowers will be out. Rambling Rector has clusters of small creamy white flowers which grow in great profusion, it also has the benefit of a delicious perfume. Unfortunately, as with a lot of climbing roses, the flowering season is only average and being an old fashioned rose, it only flowers once. It certainly is a burglar deterrent. The rose is covered with huge great spikes and I often look as if I've been in a fight with a raging tiger when trying to tie the rose back. Unfortunately another downfall is that this rose is prone to the dreaded black spot, which as any gardener knows is an absolute pain. I've since learned I am not as clever as I thought. David Austen is an extremely well known rose grower and Rambling Rector must at least be known by a few people as Laura Ashley actually had curtaining material of that name at one time and as you might have guessed that material was covered with clusters of yellowy white roses. Well if you have a huge mansion with acres of ground, or massive wall that you want to cover in a short tim
e, Rambling Rector is for you. If you are plagued by burglars, it will prove a great deterrent and is for you too, but if like me you have only an average sized back garden then perhaps you should give the Rector a miss as he will eventually take over not only your garden but your house and your neighbours' property as well. And me - well I refuse to be deterred, Rambling Rector is here to stay and shall be allowed to ramble through my garden regardless..........watch this space and I'll tell you where he eventually rambled to.