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Advice about old-fashioned rose bed

(8 Posts)
lovelycuppateas Wed 09-Mar-16 07:06:04

We recently moved house from a flat with a tiny strip of a garden to a slightly terrifying (for me) much bigger space that goes all round the house - so I'm after some advice from people with more experience!

An old lady who was very keen on gardening lived here before us. We've removed all the gnomes but so far have left most of the plants alone. One of the beds is roses, planted quite sparsely with lots of bare soil in between - practically inviting weeds. I like a much more informal planting style with lots of plants (partly to avoid too much weeding). Any ideas of what to plant amongst the roses? Or would it be ok to move them at this time of year so they are closer together or part of another, mixed, bed? Or just get rid of them all together?

lovelycuppateas Wed 09-Mar-16 07:19:41

- just realised I needed to tell you more! We are in south-east Scotland, the bed faces north but is open to West and East so gets a decent amount of sunshine in the summer. The soil is relatively free draining but a bit impoverished as there's a (horrible) leylandii hedge. I've got lots of bags of mushroom compost that I'm currently digging in to improve things.

QuerkyJo Wed 09-Mar-16 08:48:29

You can move Roses this time of year, but is is better to do it in late Autumn. I would wait until after the summer. That way you will be able to see what they are like.

No point going to all the faff of moving something which turns out to be ugly or diseased or not to your taste. Once the flowers emerge, if you decide you hate them, you can dig them up and dispose of them straight away.

Also, if she was a keen gardener, there is the possibility that there are dormant plants under the soil. I have huge bare patches in my garden at present but in another month, Anenomes, wild geranium, lemon balm, salvia and countless others will be emerging.

shovetheholly Wed 09-Mar-16 08:52:21

"We've removed all the gnomes"

I laughed.

You can move roses now - they'll appreciate some well-rotted manure round those roots. Don't pack them in too close, as they do need a bit of air, space and light around them.

Underneath, come the autumn, I'd put loads of spring-flowering bulbs so you have something nice to look at this time of year. Then summer-flowering things (you can never have enough alliums, and onion-family things make good companion plants for them). Salvias are another thing that are supposed to ward off rose diseases.

I'd also pop in some evergreen ground cover that will give you some cover in the winter. Pachysandra terminalis 'variegata' might work; silver lamium is also nice.

lovelycuppateas Wed 09-Mar-16 19:51:18

Thanks so much. Sorry for taking while to reply - work got in the way!

I love spring flowering bulbs, but missed planting them last Autumn (we'd moved by then but had too much to do to even think of the garden). It's a good idea for next year - I've got to get used this gardening thing where you plan in advance!

You're right about disease etc - we've cut some of the more manky looking roses back, so will wait to see what happens by summer. I'd not thought of alliums, but I like the look of a lot of them together. Salvias are good for bees too, aren't they? I'll have a look at these and also the suggested groundcover. It's great to get advice from more seasoned gardeners as I'm so new to all of this.

Many many passersby have asked me about the gnomes, by the way. They definitely divided opinion!

cooper44 Thu 10-Mar-16 18:33:55

I'm sure that on Sarah Raven's site somewhere there's a video about her rose garden and what she plants with them.
Do have patience and see how they look in summer - I moved house and removed about 60 roses from two enormous beds and not only was it a massive job but I do slightly regret it now. I replanted them - some worked and some didn't. They'd been planted about 15 years ago.
Catmint is nice with roses - although if you have cats they do tend to sit on squish it in my experience!

QuerkyJo Thu 10-Mar-16 18:56:34

I like the idea of being 'seasoned'. I am going to tell people from now on, I am not old, I am seasoned.

EnriqueTheRingBearingLizard Thu 10-Mar-16 21:14:16

You can really hack back roses quite drastically. Mulch and treat for disease.
Then go a bit rampant with underplanting. We have a lot of lavender and herbs around some of ours as well as Vinca Minor, which goes well with the colour scheme. Not sure which one we have, it's a bright violet colour, has a variegated leaf and gives great ground cover.

You can also Google companion planting both for colour and for beneficial effects e.g. anything onion or garlic smelling is reputed to help keep greenfly away. This site's American but the info is useful and transferable

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