As soon as I realised I have aphids, of course I did some research on how to get rid of them. Some of the sources went into great detail on how the different methods kill the aphids. I started to feel sorry for them! But then I started reading about the effects the aphids have on plants, and was determined to get rid of them all over again! Aphids pierce holes in the new, soft parts of plants and suck the sap out. This inhibits the plant from growing, it becomes stunted and it can eventually die. So sorry aphids, but you have to go!
Thankfully, there are many natural ways to get rid of them that don't involve any chemicals. As far as I could tell, my infestation only covered a small area, and the simplest thing to do in this case is to just cut off and discard the infested parts of the plants. By a happy coincidence it was time to prune the roses anyway, so I chose that option.
Here are the tools I used. On looking at them, they seem to be a bit rusty, but I had no time to buy replacements. Sources say to disinfect them every time before use, but I'd run out of disinfectant. So I rubbed them with hand sanitiser and washed them. Hopefully that will do!
This year I was much more confident in my pruning. I didn't kill them last year and in fact they grew back so large that I was less worried I would harm them.
I also replaced the stakes to support them, which I'd never had a chance to do properly before. I'm not sure I've done enough to support them, but I'm still learning and I guess I'll find out in a few months.
In addition, I pruned the two bushes along the front of the house, but I forgot to take 'before' photos, so I won't show any pictorial evidence of those.
As for the rose hips that I talked about a few posts ago: the reports are not good. Most were under-ripe still, a few had gone wrinkly and several woody. Yet, if I had left them growing for much longer, it would have been too late to give the bushes the proper Winter pruning that they need to produce good flowers next Summer. It seems that you can't have everything in the gardening world. Thankfully there are even more crafts and recipes to be made with rose petals than rose hips!
The sources I found most useful for pruning the roses were this video from Gardening Australia (scroll down a bit to 'Rose Pruning'), and this page from Heritage Rose for its diagrams on where to cut.