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Advice on plants between roses for a very novice gardener please.

(16 Posts)
MaybeBentley Thu 16-May-13 20:39:26

I have a narrow border running the whole length of my garden against the wall / fence, and last year planted it with a variety of sizes of rose bushes and a couple of climbers. They seem to be doing OK, despite my lack of skills and the weather!
At this stage of their life there is a lot of bare soil between the plants, so what I'm asking advice on is are there any small, low annuals I can plant between them, that won't spoil the roses wellbeing, will look good between them and can be removed once the season is over? It is full sun for part of the day, but shadey from mid afternoon onwards (and obviously the roses provide more shade).
Many thanks

Showtime Thu 16-May-13 21:32:54

Some people just have bare earth between roses, making it easy to keep weed-free with hoe-ing.
There's a huge choice of low-growing plants, so I'd decide on what colours you'd like first, to look good with the roses.

MisForMumNotMaid Thu 16-May-13 21:37:42

companion planting for roses

Or you could underplant with strawberries.

Do you definately want something you get rid of at the end of the year?

I love dwarf lavender under roses.

OliviaMMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 16-May-13 21:43:40

I am a total novice - the dwarf lavender would presumably be a perennial?

MaybeBentley Thu 16-May-13 21:48:54

Thank you for the link. I hadn't settled on something I had to get rid of each year, but was concerned about it taking over the roses.

I like the idea of lavender, but have never had success with it beyond a year or two at my last house. It always looked messy or dead. It grew tall and woody, then died back too much when I cut it back. Would dwarf lavender be easier to manage?

I had a big slug problem last year and ended up with no strawberries from all the plants I potted, despite the copper tape. (I have a very curious dog who would eat/chew/dig other slug deterent), so I decided against any strawberries this year.

MisForMumNotMaid Thu 16-May-13 21:49:05

Lavender is a perennial. I just love it with roses, so thought I'd throw it into the mix as a suggestion. Its quite a traditional pairing.

It just needs a good cut after flowering normally before frosts to keep a compact shape.

MaybeBentley Thu 16-May-13 21:52:40

Thanks. I will investigate lavender. The smell is always glorious.

I think I need to bone up on my pruning skills. I assume I did right not cutting back my roses in their first year?

MisForMumNotMaid Thu 16-May-13 21:56:48

I had a dog that was a strawberry pincher. She waited till they were just ripe too. Now I put them in hanging baskets out the kids reach - unless I lift them up of course.

Lavender needs to be pruned back to new green growth not old wood. I think the common dwarf lavenders tend to maintain a slightly bushier compact growth than maybe the traditional English which does tend to become a giant leggy bush.

The likes of Aldi and Lidl quite often do multi packs of small lavenders in the early summer for a few pounds, so it doesn't need to be a big investment if you want to dabble.

MisForMumNotMaid Thu 16-May-13 22:00:41

I tend to lightly prune young roses. Anything that looks dead or unhealthy, any bits that look a bit leggy i trim back a bit. No great expert on them. Roses do tend to benefit from a good feed every so often - a mulch/ liquid feed/ chicken pellets etc.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 16-May-13 23:23:47

Lavender and roses is always likely to be a tricky combination because the sort of soil that roses like best (clay) is not good for lavender because it gets so cold and wet - lavender prefers a gritty, lighter soil.

MaybeBentley Fri 17-May-13 07:43:21

Oh help! Not even sure what my soil type is!

onefewernow Fri 17-May-13 08:48:53

Perennial geraniums, I would use eg johnsons blue.
Also hostas, ferns and iris.

That combination would give a good variety of leaf type and texture do would look good.

Full in with spring and autumn bulbs- especially spring ones, as the beds will be full, as the roses won't flower till June.

onefewernow Fri 17-May-13 08:49:38

Will be dull I meant! Ie without the bulbs.

Bearleigh Sun 19-May-13 09:14:13

Bentley you can work out your soil type by picking up a handful of wet soil and squeezing. If it sticks together it's clay, if its really crumbly it's sand and if its in the middle it's loam whcih is the ideal for many plants. When it's dry, clay is rock hard.

Roses and clematis like a rich soil, which clay and loams tend to be, as the goodness stays put: it washes out of sand. I give my roses and clematis a dose of rose feed in February and June, and spread rotted manure round the base after the February feed ('mulching') to give them more food, keep them moist and to improve the soil. Soil improvement is key to successful gardening for many things. Manure and garden compost (compost that you make yourself, not the bags from garden centres) really changes things: if you have clay or sand adding these makes the soil go more towards loam. I use well rotted manure from a local stable and also bags from garden centres.

Some things though as noted by Maud like poor soil eg lavender, rosemary.

You could try planting annuals from the garden centre like lobelia (small, blue or white, pretty) or cosmos (ferny foliage, pretty flowers, pinks).

If you plant a perennial geranium (which is a good idea) I wouldn't choose Johnsons Blue: it's lovely but doesn't flower for long. I'd go for Orion or Brookside for blue, Russell Pritchard for deep pink and Mavis Simpson for pale pink. The specific Varieties of plants can make a difference: if a plant is marked 'AGM' that means it's a good variety: it has been tested and has an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

I buy small plants like perennial geraniums which are cheaper, and they grow quickly once planted, not the mega pots that cost £8.00 or so.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 19-May-13 22:11:20

I read recently - perhaps in the RHS magazine about the relaunched AGM scheme - that Rozanne is now the go-to blue geranium instead of Johnson's Blue. I have Johnson's Blue in the garden and like the intensity of the blue - Rozanne looks a bit wishy-washy in comparison - but it's true that the flowering season is longer.

I got 12 geraniums for £12 or so from Hayloft Plants and they are fantastic plants.

funnyperson Mon 20-May-13 06:38:35

Annuals sown in May will flower in the early Autumn when the best of the roses are over: calendula, love in the mist, poppies, limanthes, cosmos are all said to be easy. My favourite is cerinthe because of the green and purple unusual flowers. Night scented stock for scent perhaps. Forgetmenots to provide colour early next spring before the roses come out are also nice.

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