The Out of Control 'Iceberg' Pillar Rose

Over the 25+ years I've been growing roses, I have never attempted growing one on a pillar until we started this new garden. Now, with limited space, I am more interested in vertical gardens and finding new ways to fit in more plants. 

I have always loved the look of a pillared rose and roses growing on arches, scrambling over walls, fences and structures always sets my heart aflutter. I wanted a strong, vertical element on one side of the Pan Garden and got the idea for a rose on a pillar. I thought a white rose would be nice and after a bit of research, decided on 'Climbing Iceberg'. The shrub form of 'Iceberg' was one of the first roses I ever grew. I planted a hedge of 'Iceberg' alternating with 'Europeana' roses around the patio of our first home, a tiny apartment with a postage stamp sized garden in Florence, Alabama.

'Climbing Iceberg' is a vigorous rose and, in hindsight, I'm thinking that I might should have chosen a more mild-mannered grower. And I must concede to the fact that I may not have kept the canes trained as diligently as I should have. I considered moving the rose and replacing with it with another but I'm going to see how it reacts this year. 

What to do with this though? --

 Do I cut it back or try to wrap the canes? My first plan was to get the pillar off the rose and rewind all the canes again. I soon realized that it would be an impossible task without cutting most of the rose to release it from the cage. So, I resorted to the second plan and started to bend the upward canes downward and wrap it around the pillar from the top to the bottom. Surprisingly, this went better than expected. The canes are fairly pliable and not too as thorny as I thought.

The end result is a bit sad to look at but it will be interesting to see how it responds this year -

In the meantime, here is 'Climbing Iceberg' last June -

Pretty, but not as floriferous and I'd like. I am hoping that wrapping the canes tighter will help produce more blooms this year. Time will tell!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I do this with my 'William Baffin' rose and it responds really well, growing flowering canes all along the latent buds. I think you'll be pleased. And I also do some pruning during the summer months as well. There is no reason to wait until the dormant season. If a cane is being a nuisance, it goes buh-bye. That last photo is beautiful. What a lovely rose.

  2. This is going to be amazing when it starts blooming on all of those exposed canes. What a mess to deal with tho. I hope your experiment goes well.

  3. I do like the idea of "vertical gardens and finding new ways to fit in more plants". After all, who among us isn't tempted by just one more...
    I've never grown a rose and I hope your plan yields the results you are looking for. Last year's photo is beautiful, but I just wonder if 'Climbing Iceberg' is just too vigorous. Looking forward to summer update. (typing "summer" felt good.)

  4. The flowers looks so beautiful, I love roses


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