Vita Sackville-West and her husband Nigel Nicolson bought their home, Sissinghurst, in 1930 and gradually created one of the most famous gardens of all time.
The denser the "plant carpet," the better suppression of weeds it will provide.
Vita "hate, hate, hate[d] ‘American Pillar’" rambler roses!
There is an old saying that the time to prune the roses is when the forsythia blooms. Here in my Midwestern garden our forsythia blooms in March.