Designing a Rose Garden

Designing a Rose Garden

Designing a Rose Garden

Designing a Rose Garden

The design of a rose garden should be based as far as possible on personal preferences, but in a small garden it has also to be determined by the amount of available ground. Grass is a good background for roses of any type, but a garden which consists of many small beds cut out of a lawn tends to look fussy. Moreover it is difficult to maintain, for it complicates mowing and a great deal of edging work is necessary to keep a neat appearance.

I much prefer an island bed. The planting of compact cluster-flowered roses in groups can be given the added dimension of height by a few weeping standards, and plants such as Juniperus ‘Blue Star’ provide an additional effect with their interesting foliage. Around the sides, an informal border of shrub roses could be planted, mainly to show varieties which can be accommodated in a small garden. In a private garden this idea could be adapted to one’s personal preference by the planting, for instance, of groups of hybrid teas or floribunda roses.

All rose gardens should have a space, either on the lawn or on paving, large enough to take two or three comfortable garden chairs. It is always a great pleasure merely to sit down among them and enjoy their colour, form, and fragrance with one’s friends.

Generally, when taking on a new garden, every effort will be made to get something to grow and flower as quickly as possible. Roses can be in flower in four months, certainly not at their best, but good enough to give some pleasure.

Lovers of hybrid teas will probably prefer a fairly formal plan for their roses. The best design is probably a simple one, with rectangular beds which will hold at least three rows of plants. This permits a bold display while allowing access to the plants. The beds can be designed for long term use by leaving enough grass between them to accommodate replacement beds after 12 or 15 years. Such a formal garden will be rather flat, but it can be relieved by the introduction of a few standards. Alternatively, tripods or similar structures can be covered with pillar roses. To make maintenance easy, these should be placed in the bed rather than isolated on the lawn, unless you want to use them as a background. The traditional pergolas and arches are not only expensive to build but require more attention than most amateur gardeners can afford. Floribunda roses can be fitted into informal surroundings more readily than the hybrid tea, with its large formal flowers.

The older shrub roses are of course completely at home in informal surroundings, where their more subtle colourings do not suffer in comparison with the strong orange-reds of many of the modern roses. Odd as it may seem, the design of an informal rose garden in some respects requires more careful planning than a formal one. The very fact that the roses will not be planted in more or less straight rows or in geometric patterns means that you must give thought to the spaces between the plants and to the often considerable sizes that mature shrub roses attain. For instance, one of the finest and most popular varieties, ‘Nevada’, is well able to reach a height and width of 2 m (6 ft) within five years. The question of pruning also needs to be taken into account. Admittedly pruning is much less of a problem in an informal garden — but when it becomes necessary, it is much easier and pleasanter to do if you can tackle the plant without getting entangled in the foliage and thorns of its neighbours.


11. March 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Landscaping, New Gardens, Roses | Tags: | Comments Off on Designing a Rose Garden


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