We’re planting roses, the symbol of love

October is rose month – wake up to the beauty and splendour of these romantic flowers. Discover six different ways to use roses in your garden.

At this time of the year, many gardeners are afflicted with a condition known as ‘rose madness.’ It’s when every rose looks more beautiful than the next and you have to have them all! But, as the roses are packed out of the car, reality hits along with the question, “Where am I going to put them all?”

Advice from sober minded garden experts is to plan first and know what you want to do before visiting a rose nursery. What they are really saying is take time to dream and scheme, scan rose sites on the internet or browse through catalogues over a cup of coffee. Then hit the road.

While a single rose in a pot is beautiful, there are as many ways to use roses as there are different types of roses. We have six examples for inspiration.

For a cascading, rosy effect fill a planter with ‘My Granny’ (pale pink) and ‘Granny’s Delight (deep pink). Both are spreading groundcover roses that grow into dense flower-covered plants with arching stems weighed down by the blooms. They are vigorous, leafy and disease resistant.

The above planter is ideal for a garden with poor or rocky soil or where there is a slope. Such planters can also be used to border a patio, outdoor living or pool area. The planter acts like a small enclosing wall, creating an intimate outdoor living area. It should receive at least six hours of sun a day.

Fill the planter with good quality potting soil and slow release fertiliser such as Ludwig’s Vigolonger. Make sure the planter has drainage holes because roses don’t like to sit in soggy soil. Water at least three times a week in summer, or daily with intense heat, and fertilise once a month.

What a welcome! A rose-lined driveway acts as a border for a small formal rose garden with pavers, Mondo grass and gravel instead of lawn. The geometric design makes use of rectangular rose beds   filled with bushy floribunda roses, ‘Tawny Profusion’ (buff yellow), ‘Amarula Profusion’ (pale apricot) and ‘Satchmo ( bright red) with taller bright pink ‘Amelia Dee’ hybrid tea roses behind.

Floribunda roses flower feely, with clusters of blooms and their flower power is exhilarating. The perfect landscape roses.

Need to screen a bare wall? What better way to do it and provide a focal point for the garden. ‘Fairest Cape Panarosa’ is an arching informal shrub that can stand on its own or be trained like a climbing rose to cover this gazebo. This lightly fragrant rose is virtually maintenance free.

To get this effect, plant ‘Fairest Cape’ Panarosa’ s on either side of the gazebo. Unlike other climbers, roses do not grow up one side and down the other. Two roses planted on either side of the structure are necessary for that effect. Once the rose has reached the desired height, train the stems horizontally so that the blooms sprout along the length of the stem and cascade downwards.

If you have dreamed of using a romantic sculpture like this but not been sure how to stage it, here is your answer. Surround her with statuesque hybrid tea roses with urn-shaped buds that open into classically beautiful blooms. A gravel and paving stone pathway lead to the sculpture that is actually a water feature with Louisiana irises growing in the water at her feet. On one side ‘Alan Tew’ (apricot) combines with the red and gold tones of ‘Durban July’ and on the other side ‘Duet’ shows off an array of warm salmon pink blooms. Evening primroses soften the base of the roses.

There is a reason why ‘Iceberg’ roses are best sellers. They never stop flowering and get bigger and better by the year. Combining white flowering ‘Iceberg’ bushes and Star Jasmine adds a sparkle to this predominantly foliage garden. Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’ is used as a low clipped hedge around the rose bed with tall columns of lime green conifers behind.

Good to know: both Duranta and conifers have powerful roots that can deprive the roses of water and nutrients. Make sure to plant the roses in deeply prepared well composted soil and water frequently, making sure the water is getting to the rose roots. Alternately plant each rose in a large pot and sink it in the ground, with the top at soil level. That will protect the roses from root competition.

Roses lend themselves to the full-on romantic look, and none more so than Antico Moderno roses that combine modern vigour with the full petalled old fashioned blooms of yesteryear. In this large garden, trees and shrubs provide the perfect green backdrop to this massed planting of roses which are bordered with scented irises and a clipped buxus hedge. A Provençal water feature completes the picture.  The roses featured in this garden include ‘Natalie Douglas’ (deep pink), ‘Parkinson’s Beauty’ (golden yellow and orange‘, Liz McGrath’ ( gold) and ‘Garden and Home’ (creamy apricot).

Alice Coetzee

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