Rose Gardens, especially those made up exclusively of roses, have gone out of style, but mixing roses with perennials and herbaceous or flowering ground covers to create a complex palette of flowers and foliage is a wonderful and less labor intensive alternative to the old-fashioned rose garden . The "Rose Garden" at Descanso Gardens takes this tact, and it is a lovely way to enjoy roses as part of a mediterranean garden.
Roses are easier to grow than you may think. Time has taught me some tricks with roses, and I take great pride in that first flush of flowers in March and April, knowing that I'm growing roses without chemicals, and, surprisingly, with very little water. This Iceberg Rose had passers-by stopping to enjoy, and other than dead-heading, it's not much work!
Some secrets to growing care-free roses include:
- Full Sun
- Loamy Soil
- Air circulation (enough room)
- Mulch with a fine mulch
- Side dress with compost
- Clean up fallen leaves and petals
- Choose varieties that are disease resistant and are recommended for your area
- Prune correctly (not too dramatically) in late Fall
- Water deeply and rarely once established
These principles have allowed me to grow roses very successfully without fertilizers, pesticides, or a lot of water. If you have light, loamy soil and full sun, you should try growing a rose bush, and see how it does. Roses can't be beat for scent, color, and beauty. And they are a wonderful cut flower, of course.
Iceberg is usually a slam dunk. Sally Holmes is a gorgeous climber. Sunset has lists of roses for different areas, that can be very helpful. Roses add so much to the Spring, Summer, and Fall garden, it's a shame not to grow them if you have the right conditions to do so easily. By mixing roses with other plants, they can find a place in a contemporary garden, and give us so much pleasure for so little care.