In the Garden
In the Garden Home
Fertilizing your roses: A step-by-step guide
Planting Roses: A How to Guide
Pruning your roses: why, how and when
Mulching: benefits and how tos
Selecting the Right Rose
Summer Rose Care Tips
Late Summer Roses
Gifts from Your Rose Garden
Christmas Treats for the Birds
Perennial Companions for Roses
Birds: Our beautiful garden allies
Getting Your Roses Ready
Eat Your Roses! Rose Recipes
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rose garden is a beautiful sight when everything is in bloom. Right
now, roses reign supreme in our gardens. They command full attention
when they are in full bloom. However, most roses aren't "everblooming."
They take a break between blooms, or they may bloom just once in
early summer. Perennials are great at filling voids between blooms.
Perennials also add more variety to your gardens. A garden full
of roseseven lots of different typescan become more interesting
when perennials are intermingled with the roses. Perennials come
in many different shapes, sizes and colors that can help add more
textural interest to your rose gardens. So, while focusing on roses
in a garden, your eyes may suddenly be drawn to a different leaf,
color or flower form offered by perennials. This adds the elements
of surprise and delight to your garden.
Where to Start
you want to start adding perennials to your garden, but you're feeling
unsure about what will match with what. And you want to go by the
book. Well, first it helps to understand the basics of design, then
just dive in and plant anything that pleases you and does well in
You can also get lots of ideas and inspiration from other gardeners
and public display gardens. If you see a combination of color and
form that you like, examine the planting closely so you can recreate
it or something like it in your own garden.
A great way to get started with adding perennials into your gardens
is to visit plant sales held by garden clubs. The quality of the
plants is usually really great and the prices are very reasonable.
And, you're sure to get lots of opinions and advice about the plants
from the garden club members.
I haven't found a sun-loving perennial yet that didn't go well
with roses. I'm sure there are some really nasty, invasive perennials
out there, but so far I've avoided most of those. And, if you have
a shady corner in your rose garden, your plant pallet increases
to include all the shade-loving perennials.
We all have favorite perennials, so include those in with your
roses and see how they look. If the combination doesn't quite work,
don't hesitate to rearrange the plants. It's sort of like rearranging
furnitureit takes a little sweat, but it's usually fun and the results
can be very gratifying.
the color wheel that shows complimentary and contrasting colors?
If you want a guide to help you arrange color combinations, follow
the color wheel concept. You can learn more about this on our rose
garden design page.
If you're intimidated by trying to figure out how to get perennial
color from spring to fall, here's a quick trick. Visit your favorite,
local garden center every two weeks and buy what's in bloom that
they are promoting. Be a little cautious with that trick in the
spring, though. Sometimes garden centers will force early bloom
from plants so that anxious gardeners can get their blossom fix
as soon as the snow melts. Otherwise, this trick works pretty well
for ensuring that there's always something in bloom in your garden
from spring to fall.
Here's a list of some of the perennials we've been happy to have
in our rose gardens:
||comes in different colors and likes to spread.
||prefers slight shade and/or moist soil.
||tall or short, blue or white, these are great additions.
||lots of colors and sizes, but some can spread a bit too much.
||a must in a rose garden, but be sure to give them support.
||lots of size and colors. True cottage garden plants.
||reliable plant that self seeds.
||another traditional rose companion. Likes to self seed.
||white and airy. A good filler plant.
||lots of colors, fragrance and textures.
||roses are queens, but lilies are garden orchids.
||old fashioned, early bloomers that like to self seed.
||way cool, but way invasive. Put in a spot where it can spread.
||blues are a must with pink roses.
||late blooming, tall, interesting plant.
||fun source of tall blues and whites.
||good edging plant.
|Stachys (Lamb's Ears)
||another good edging plant, but can be invasive.
||more blues and whites on spiky flowers. Reliable.
If you have the room, give extra space between your roses and
fill it up with perennials. Don't be afraid to try new things. Have
fun! And, if you don't like the plants you put in, your gardening
friends might like them and you can have your own plant swap every