Much is heard these days about ground-cover plants. Roses have a huge contribution to make here and this can be seen in the following typical selection:
Rosa kordesii. This has been given the status of a species, although it arose in cultivation as a seedling from ‘Max Graf’ (a hybrid which is generally sterile). It can be grown as a low climber, but if allowed to sprawl naturally it is useful as ground cover. Produces semi-double, deep-pinkover a considerable period but is not recurrent.
R. nitida, 600 mm (2 ft). A dwarf shrub which suckers freely but takes time to establish itself. It is striking in autumn when its foliage turns deep scarlet-crimson. Its single deep-pink flowers are produced in June and July. A very good plant for growing and filling in spaces at the front of a rose border.
R. wichuraiana. A naturally prostrate grower which, if it is in the right place, will make young growths up to 3 m (10 ft) long during the season. Very attractive glossy, semi-evergreen foliage. The scented, single, white flowers are attractive and are produced late, usually after mid-July.
‘Temple Bells’. A newcomer from America, very similar to R. wichuraiana in habit and lateness of flowering, and possibly even more vigorous. The white flowers have very pronounced yellow stamens and are fragrant. It roots freely along the ground.
‘Lady Curzon’. A hybrid, derived from R. rugosa, which will cover an area 2.4 m (8 ft) square, making a Large, prickly mound. Attractive, with good foliage and large, single, pale-pink flowers. Scented, but not recurrent.
‘Max Graf’. A trailing shrub which generally does not rise above 300 mm (1 ft) from the ground. It has become well established as a ground-cover plant, rooting as it grows. The single, bright-pink flowers with good yellow stamens are like a much-improved dog rose. Scented, with attractive glossy foliage.
‘Nozomi’. If allowed to grow naturally, it produces low, arching growths about 450 mm (1-1/2 ft) from the ground and covering 1.2 m (4 ft). The small, single non-recurrent flowers are produced freely in trusses and are pale pearly pink in colour. The glossy foliage is attractive.
R. x paulii. A trailer most suitable for fairly large gardens where it will form an impenetrable mound 1 m (3 ft) high and at least 1.8 m (6 ft) across. Produces liberally its single, slightly starry white flowers, which are delicately scented. Excessively thorny.
R. x paulii ‘Rosen’. Possibly a sport of R. x paulii, but much reduced in vigour and consequently a much better garden plant. It produces particularly beautiful fragrant, single, deep-pink flowers with white centres and with a mass of golden stamens.