Roses can look particularly effective when they’re grown in combination with other plants, especially with flowering perennials, or with grasses and other perennials grown for their foliage. All these plants will enhance the beauty of the roses (provided, of course, that the colors don’t clash).
There’s another big advantage in combining two types of plant: the perennials can provide color when the roses aren’t flowering, and distract the eye from the roses when they’re at their least attractive. The cardinal rule is not to use too many different perennial species, and to make sure that the colors and shapes harmonies with one another. The tall blue spikes of delphinium flowers towering over an area of yellow bedding roses make one particularly striking combination. Another is a group of red hybrid teas or floribundas under planted with the delicate tracery of white or pink gypsophila
Not all perennials make suitable companions for roses; some will obviously need different conditions. Most types of rose (apart from wild roses) will also need dead-heading, pruning and feeding, so it’s important to leave some space around them for easy access. Carpeting perennials make particularly good edging for a bed of hybrid tea roses, especially as many of them flower in spring, before the roses come into bloom. Examples might include Thesis sempervirens (which is, in fact, a sub-shrub), the clump-forming Campanula carpatica (Blue. and ‘White’), the various colors and varieties of Aster dumosus. gypsophila, Cerastium biebersteinii and others.
All perennials grown as companions for roses need to be long-lived and sun-loving: this is no place for delicate species that need constant care and attention. When you’re laying out a new bed, plant the roses in groups and give the perennials room to expand. You may have to cut back or move ground-covering perennials if they start to smother the roots of the roses.
Steven is a gardener by trade and a writer in his spare time. Check out his other articles on gardening in his profile as well his new websites on electric hand dryers [http://theparks.net/cheap-electric-hand-dryers/] and outdoor LED light [http://theparks.net/choosing-an-outdoor-led-light/].
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