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Gardening with Roses
Analyzing Your Site
you plant anything, take a good look at the spot you've chosen to
plant your rose(s). To ensure that your roses have everything they
need to give you the results you expect, you need to find out the
following: You can find more information about planting roses on
our planting instructions page.
- How many hours of sun does the site get each day? Is it full
sun or dappled sun? (Roses need at least five hours of full sun
each day to bloom well.)
- Is the soil pH at neutral? It should be between 6.5 and 7.
- Is the soil well drained? Poorly drained soil will weaken and
kill your roses.
- Is there plenty of organic matter in the soil? Roses are heavy
feeders and need fertile soil.
- How much space do I have? Is it enough for all the plants I
want to add? Be sure you know the mature size of your rose plant,
then give it an extra foot beyond that.
- Is there competition from tree roots at the site? Tree roots
will rob your roses of moisture and nutrients.
When combining roses with other roses or with other flowering
plants, it's a good idea to think
about what the resulting color combinations will look like. Some
people just have a natural instinct for knowing what colors go well
together, while others may need a little guidance. Remember the
"color wheel" we've all seen? It's a good idea to review the fundamentals
behind contrasting and complementary colors that the color wheel
illustrates. This can help you choose which colors to select. Other
factors also affect our sense of color. This includes: color brightness,
color area (how big/small), color saturation, proximity of colors
to one another, light and how we feel about colors.
If you're not sure what colors will look good together, get some
crayons and paper and color in swatches of the colors that come
close to what you'll be planting. Then, cut out the swatches and
put them next to each other. That will give you a pretty good idea
of what they might look like in your garden.
Here are some examples of color combinations you can make in your
Complentary color combinations include:
Contrasting color combinations include:
Remember, if you're selecting color combinations for your own
garden, just pick what pleases you.
Perennials and Vines
Roses go well with so many other plants, particularly perennials
and certain vines. Here's a list of our favorites that are hardy
in Zone 4 (be sure to check out our garden designs
Stachys (Lamb's Ears)
Suggested Uses for Roses
Roses are very versatile plants to have in your garden. Since they
bloom and are woody shrubs, they offer the best of the two primary
features of most gardens -- color and structure. We use roses in
a variety of ways in our gardens. Some are displayed on their own,
some are in hedges or mixed hedges and others are planted with perennials
or other roses. We find roses to be very useful "tuck-in"
plants when we have a spot that needs color.
Below are some quick summaries of different ways to use roses,
including the features of some of our most common varieties that
we offer. To see photos and more information about each rose, visit
our online catalog.
Medium Hedges (3-4 feet)
Tall Hedges (4-6+ feet)
Blanc Double de Coubert
Rosa rugosa alba
Rosa rugosa ‘rubra’
Blanc Double de Coubert
Fru Dagmar Hastrup
Rosa rugosa alba
Rosa rugosa rubra
Roses that Tolerate Some Shade
Roses that Tolerate Drier Soil
Roses that Make Good Cut Flowers
Rosa glauca (the foliage)
Rose Garden Designs
look great in any garden -- whether they're by themselves, or mixed
with perennials or shrubs. They can help soften a hard corner, or
enhance a stone wall as they climb up next to it or spill over the
Be creative in your use of roses. You'd be surprised at how well
they go with so many other plants. If you have a favorite perennial,
put them with your roses and see how they perform together. Think
about how the plants will complement each other's color, form and
Roses and rose gardens also benefit from added structure; whether
that comes from tall perennials, such as Joe-Pye Weed or Meadow
Rue, or from physical structures such as arbors and obelisks.
To help you get started with designing your rose gardens, we've
included two simple designs below.
1=Tall Rose: William Baffin, John Cabot, Roseraie de l'Hay,
Blanc Double de Coubert, Hansa
2=Lilies: Tall orientals or trumpets
3=Tall Perennials: Delphinium, Perovskia, Lilies, Cimicifuga,
Liatris, Phlox, Echinacea
4=Short Rose: Charles Albanel, Champlain, Chuckles, The Fairy,
Henry Hudson, Schneekoppe
5=Medium Perennials: Veronica, Liatris, Achillea, Lilies
6=Short Perennials: Campanulas, Lamb's Ears, Scabiosa, Catmint,
Mixed Perennial Garden
2=Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue'
3=Gloire de France
8=Campanula 'Blue Clips'
10=Daylily 'Stella d'Oro'
13=Nepeta 'Blue Wonder'
planning your design, make a quick sketch of what you want. Then,
to see how the colors will work together, get some colored pencils
and shade in the colors of the blossoms you'll see. Remember --
it's easier to move plants around on paper than once they're in
Sources for Ideas and Materials
Ideas: There are lots of good books
about roses that include design ideas and information. Garden design
can be a science or it can be a freeform expression of your personal
tastes. Either way, don't forget to enjoy the process! And be sure
to visit both public and private gardens and arboretums to get ideas