Gertrude Jekyll


Pruning and training of lanky roses.....

The Bourbon rose 'Louise Odier' and the Austin rose 'Gertrude Jekyll' are some of the most fragrant roses in the world. They produce an abundance of very beautiful flowers. Their beauty combined with their heady fragrance place them on top of the wish list of many gardeners.

These 2 roses are interesting because they can be grown in colder zones due to their hardiness (USDA zone 5 for Loise Odier and Zones 4/5 for Gertrude Jekyll) and still become quite big roses. In warmer zones they also perform well (Even though GJ might benefit from getting some afternoon shade not to fry the delicate flowers in hot sun). Both roses do not have very good disease resistance against blackspot and powdery mildew and benefit from preventive spraying with systemic fungicides.


Many who grow these 2 roses end up being disappointed. Both shoot long 8-10 feet tall canes every season, that make these roses very awkward and lanky growers. The secret to growing these roses well is to know they are very adaptable to different styles of pruning and training.

Both can be grown as bush roses (3-5 feet tall and wide) or low climbers (About 7-8 feet tall). I will illustrate how different pruning and training of these roses make them perform better and how you can choose to grow them. Before I begin, let me get some terminology straight:

LATERALS: Shoots coming from existing canes, older canes sometimes called "Old Wood".

BASALS: Shoots or new canes coming from the bud-union or crown on bare-root roses... hopefully planted 3-4 inches below soil-level in cold climates) or new basals from the roots on own-root plants. Sometimes a new basal shoot will come from a point very low on some of the older canes.