Three plants that look good together: Rosa filipes 'Kiftsgate' Clematis 'Perle D'Azur' Clematis 'Marie Boisselot'
DO YOU have an acre of ugly wall you'd like to cover, or something large, say an aircraft hanger, to hide from view? If so, the plant you need is the incredible rambling rose, Rosa filipes "Kiftsgate".

Exaggerations aside, this is a monster of a rose (and a thug in the wrong place) - vigorous, abundant, vital. Unchecked, it will think nothing of climbing 30 to 40ft, with rangy, arching branches which, in the evocative words of rose expert Jack Harkness, "are capable of growing shoots as long as three tall men in a summer".

Ideal for growing through trees or hedgerows and over outbuildings, more unusually, it makes fine, widespreading ground cover where space is not restricted and would be excellent over rough ground or on a difficult bank.

It will grow in almost any soil (including alkaline and acid) and can stand anything from full sun to quite deep shade, where it will still flower well. Pruning is largely unnecessary (and rather tricky 30ft up a tree) except for chopping off dead or exhausted wood and the occasional removal of large branches at their base to encourage new shoots. It is too rampant for a small space, though I have seen it successfully trained to encircle the entire boundary of a room-sized city garden.

"Kiftsgate" is an attractive plant, with large, lush and soft green foliage and its youngest branches heavily thorned and tinged red. It flowers in mid-summer with breathtaking abundance. Small, creamy white, scented blossoms, held in trusses, often more than 100 individual blooms to each cluster, smother the branches. When the petals fall hips are formed to decorate the plant through the winter.

Planting companions for "Kiftsgate" will depend on its use. Sprawling over a shed or across the ground it is an excellent host for Clematis. "Perle D'Azur" and "Marie Boisselot" would be good choices. Both are easy to grow, vigorous and produce abundant blooms; "Perle D'Azur" in light blue shades, "Marie Boisselot" in pure white. They can be pruned hard in spring, chopping back all growth to a couple of feet or less above the ground, preventing a build up of unsightly, tangled growth among the rose's branches.

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