Planning a Rose Garden

WHEN planning a new garden do not make the beds so wide that ordinary cultivation cannot be carried out without treading on the soil. The width should not exceed 6 feet, which will permit of three rows of trees, yet be accessible from either side.

Mixed Beds

Another pitfall is the indiscriminate planting of varieties irrespective of their habit of growth, so that one tree overshadows another. The difficulty can be avoided by planting a separate variety in each bed, thus more easily achieving uniformity, although with care and planning there is no real fault to find with mixed beds. Advocates of the one variety per bed arrangement frequently make a point of the colours clashing in mixed beds, but this kind of observation is more fanciful than true. All, or practically all, colours of roses in their natural environment blend without violating aesthetic tastes. Whereas two colours might clash, the possibility fades with a number of mixed varieties and colours, and the argument against mixed beds can be discounted, provided attention is paid to the individual requirements of the respective varieties.

The Order of Planting

It is advisable first to plan the order of planting. It is only common sense if, for example, one is planning for a bed 6 feet wide which will accommodate three rows of trees, to have the tallest growers in the centre row so that they stand out above those in the outer rows. Similarly, it is advisable to stagger the plants so that they are not in straight rows. The very vigorous varieties should be given a little more space than the average varieties, which should be planted 1 foot 9 inches apart.


Do not plant ramblers too closely. A strong plant will easily cover a space 15 feet wide, yet they are often planted as closely as 6 feet apart and in a year or two they are a tangled mass and the despair of the grower.

Ramblers are usually grown on pergolas, along fences or specially prepared trellis-work, but they can be grown in other ways to great advantage. One method is on tripods and another is pegged down in beds. The latter method is seldom used, yet is very effective. Two plants are sufficient for a bed, say 12 feet long and 6 feet wide. They should be planted in the centre of the bed and the long growths trained over to right and left and inter-twined. Two varieties such as Francois Juranville and Leontine Gervais will present a lovely sight when in bloom. For the tripods, larch poles 11 to 12 feet long should be used, and inserted into the soil to a depth of 2 to 3 feet, each 6 feet apart at the base, leaned together and secured at the top with strong wire. Two plants can then be planted opposite to each other inside the poles, and the growths from each trained in the same direction in spiral fashion round the poles. In two or three years the growths will reach the top, after which they can be allowed to fall back or trained along chains from one tripod to another.

Owing to their susceptibility to mildew, ramblers should not be planted against walls, as they prefer free circulation of air through the foliage.

Climbing Hybrid Teas

The growths of this type of climber must be trained as horizontally as possible to obtain the best results. Grown as pillars, they are inclined to become lanky with what little bloom they produce at a height well out of reach. Furthermore, the lateral growths coming off at a tangent are difficult to tie in, and for this reason are often left; thus they become a nuisance, catching the clothing of passers-by. On pergolas this unsuitability is more marked—the growths on the uprights of the pergolas are more often than not devoid of bloom, and the growths across the top, owing to their inaccessibility, are usually left untended. Thus they point heavenwards with perhaps a few blooms waving about in the air some 10 feet to 12 feet above the ground. For pillars and pergolas use the ramblers, and plant the climbing Hybrid Teas against walls or fences so that their growths can be spread out horizontally. The tension thus created will more readily produce flowering laterals and give greater satisfaction.

Specimen Plants

Specimen plants grown in their own individual circular plots cut out of the lawn are also most effective, and many of the species are ideal for this purpose, although the blooming period of the species is rather fleeting. They do, however, provide colour in May at a time of the year when there is not a lot to be seen, also the foliage of many is most attractive, and their heps have a distinctive beauty of their own in the autumn.

Rose Hedges

Another feature of the rose garden is a hedge of roses in lieu of the ubiquitous evergreen. The Hybrid Musks are particularly suitable for this purpose, as they are perpetual flowering and very fragrant. The Rosa rugosa hybrids, too, have similar qualities to the Hybrid Musks and can be recommended. If a more dwarf hedge is required, then we have the Floribundas.

Rose-beds are best kept free from other plants, except perhaps for edging plants. There is a great temptation to utilize the rose-beds for bulbs to provide colour in the spring? This can be, and is, done, but the presence of bulbs prevents hoeing and other necessary work.

02. May 2013 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Propagating Roses, Pruning Roses, Rose Care, Roses | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Planning a Rose Garden


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