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Home » Gardens! Gardens!

“Companions” for your Roses

Submitted by on August 10, 2014 – 8:16 amNo Comment
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roses_jackson&perkins Special to Road Trips for Gardeners
By Jackson & Perkins

You love your roses, but you want something more. You want to mix in other plants, whether to create an even more aesthetically pleasing display or to increase your garden’s diversity in order to attract a wider variety of birds and insects.

When choosing companion plants, select ones with similar soil, water, and light requirements, and make sure they won’t overrun your roses. Clumping-style grasses and perennials and well-behaved shrubs and annuals are good choices, as they shouldn’t spread aggressively or provide too much shade.

Aesthetically, companion planting opens the door to an almost infinite combination of textures and colors. It allows you to get away from the sense of formality that rose gardens so often embody. If a formal rose garden is what you want, that’s wonderful. But if you want a freer, more relaxed display with an organic flow, than companion planting is for you.

There are also practical reasons for growing certain plants along with your roses. Shrubs and perennials that provide food and habitat for hummingbirds are ideal, as hummingbirds will happily eat aphids that may be plaguing your roses. Garlic helps against aphids as well. Aphids hate garlic, and ants and snails are none too fond of it either. In addition, studies have shown that garlic has anti-fungal properties, helping to keep diseases like blackspot at bay.

Roses have a long-established relationship with boxwoods and other evergreen shrubs, joining together to create gorgeous hedgerows, the evergreens bringing interest to the landscape throughout the year. Herbs such as sage, rosemary, lavender, and thyme have long been planted around rose bushes, and entire books have been written about that most classic of combinations—Roses and Clematis.

As a rose lover, the main focus of your garden may always be your roses, but remember that allowing them to form relationships with a variety of other plants will bring even more beauty and character to the landscape, and in many cases keep your roses healthier for years to come.

(Photo courtesy of Jackson & Perkins)

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