Documents: Special Interest: Gardening In England:

Putting Roses in the Mix
by Anne Worsley
July 23, 2014

The plantings at Wisley prove that roses should be planted in with all the other plants.

Many people think the only way to grow roses properly is to organize them into defined beds, a bit like a fancy vegetable garden. Which isn’t a bad idea because it helps to reduce the types of bugs and disease that tend to pick on most roses. But come winter, when the plants drop their foliage, these rose gardens turn into a fancy sea of prickly sticks and the sight is not fabulous.

And that is why it’s a wonderful thing that easy-grow, modern roses exist. All we have to do is identify them – and the Flower Carpet rose is one of the best examples – and then we can plant them any way we like.

To understand what’s meant by any-way-you-like, take for example, the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Wisley. Until recently, its rose garden consisted of neat rectangular beds, but that’s gone. Now visitors wander through absolutely gorgeous landscapes filled with flowers – bold massed plantings and glorious borders where roses brush shoulders with all sorts of other plants – rudbeckia, salvias, daylilies and buddleias. It’s an extraordinarily beautiful theory put into practice and it is deliberately designed to encourage us all to use easy-care roses more freely in our gardens.

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