The pillar Rose is an important feature in modern Rose gardens. Not only is it a beautiful object in itself, but it serves to prevent the sense of uniformity which would prevail were there nothing but beds.
The pillar may stand alone, or it may form one of several in a bed. It is in the latter circumstances that it does its best work. The beds of pillars in many of our large private Rose gardens, and also at Kew, are objects of great beauty.
To have a pillar Rose in its fullest beauty it must be clothed from head to base. Pillars are frequently seen, however, of which the upper part only is well furnished. This is a result, in many instances, of leaving the plant unshortened in the season of planting. In all cases where young plants are put in it is advisable to shorten them in spring, so as to ensure strong shoots from the base, which are certain to come if the roots are healthy and the soil is good.
In the case of strong flowering plants three or four years old, well furnished with canes, such hard cutting back need not be practised, but the canes should be bent over when the buds begin to swell in spring, and only trained upright and secured to their supports when the lower buds have broken strongly.
In any case of doubt as to shortening, whether in the first or subsequent years, the character of the growth may be studied. If the shoots are long, as thick as the little finger, or nearly so, firm, and brown or greenish brown in colour, they may be retained the greater part of their length. As a rule the tips are soft and unripe; these may be removed. If the shoots are little thicker than a straw, green and soft, they should be cut hard back.
It is a help in the task of keeping the pillar well clothed from bottom to top if some of the ripe, strong shoots are shortened back or bent over when starting, in order to secure a good break of flowering wood near the base.
In order to maintain pillars in beauty from year to year over a long series of years, it is advisable to periodically shorten a few of the stronger growths to buds near the ground in order to originate fresh wood.