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Continuing on the roses theme… I found myself this morning faced with a couple of standard roses – at least, they used to be standard roses but they’ve now grown several variations on the theme, including long upright shoots from halfway up the main stem, and one of them has sprouted a curious double-head to the standard. By this I mean the main stem has burst out with a second ring of shoots about a couple of inches below the first. The second rose is even odder – it’s not really a standard, strictly speaking, as it has two main stems, each of which has a standard head.

What to do? One bit is easy – I’ve already sliced off the shoots growing up the stem. I’m inclined to prune back the first rose to the lower ring of shoots – the top ring isn’t much to write home about, and it’s right up against a fence, too. It’ll make the rose a bit weedy this year, which won’t make my client very happy, but needs must and I hope he’ll understand! The second one I think I’ll just leave for now and make it into the double-standard it wants to be. It’ll be a curiosity if nothing else!

Just for the notebook: pruning standard roses (when they aren’t as wierd as the ones above) is easy. You simply cut back the shoots by a third to an outward-facing bud in late winter/early spring. If the head is a bit overcrowded, cut out inward-growing or crossing shoots at the base to generally thin out the crown. And as with all roses, get rid of any dead and diseased wood completely. And that’s it!

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