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Six on Saturday 30th of June

img 3123 Six on Saturday 30th of June

Good morning folks, what a dry week that has been! Everywhere I look the grass is a shade of brown, pots seem to dry out within minutes of being watered, it’s more like late August than the last few days of June. The rain they forecast is always on the move isn’t, one day it’s forecast for Sunday and the next it’s been changed for the following Thursday. God knows we need it!

Anyway enough of me moaning about the lack of rain it’s the high temps that have got me, it’s made a pretty horrid week at work I can tell you but now I am away for a few days, down at Butlins at Bognor Regis and that my dear friends is where my six comes from this week, I hope you enjoy them taken from the landscape around this world famous holiday park

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The reedmace is just starting it awesome flowering, I love the flower and soon to be seed spikes on this beautiful and stately Reed. From our hotel, we have a semi circular water feature that has groups of these around the edges

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And of course it has water lilies there as well and these are flowering their little hearts out at the moment, loving the heat

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There is loads of lavender growing around the resort, most being Hidcote I think and the site of this purple/blue is a great distraction from the brown of the grass. It also full of the sites and sounds of bees

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As is the Hebe albicans, again in full flower all around the resort, giving the visitors a delight to see. It’s also full of bees as well

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The stunning grass Calamagrotis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ is making itself seen, there are small beds of this stunning grass just scattered around the site and in the light sea breeze, the flowerheads are almost shimmering in the sun

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The little petunias are one plant that loves this summer sun and heat, they preform best when the weather is like this and how delightful does this little one look in the evening glow

Well that’s just some of the highlights of the flower world here at Butlins, I hope you enjoy them a little and I will catch up with you all soon, maybe Monday when we return! Until then, take a look at other peoples sixes via the hosts site

 Six on Saturday 30th of June
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Six on Saturday 23rd of June.

Well well good morning one and all and we are back to the weekend once more! Thankfully it’s a weekend I am seeing again, confused? Well last Saturday I did something rather silly but does show how dangerous gardening can be and how whatever you are doing, you need to think about it at all times, what did I do? Well I was replacing a fence at the in laws, which involved using a 6ft solid iron bar that weights about 25kgs and is about 11/2″ thick to help lever out lumps of concrete. Normally I am good with it pulling it down to either side of me, this time I pulled it towards me, for some reason I pulled it towards me, it came free of the concrete and smacked me on the head with some force, lucky for me I escaped with just concussion but it really could of been a lot lot worse! It did take me up to yesterday to feel back to normal, just left with a lump and a slight dip in my skull. It just shows that gardening isn’t just a carefree hobby or Job but one that in milliseconds, can turn into one that can have life changing repercussions, so be safe this week in the garden

Anyway enough of the be careful stuff and onto the the plants

img 0839 Six on Saturday 23rd of June.

One of my first salvias to flower and one of my favourites, I love the dark rich flowers offset with the dark flower stems on Salvia Bordeaux, one of two bargain rescues at £3 last year

img 0838 Six on Saturday 23rd of June.

Rosa falstaff and me have some history which sadly I can’t say in public but never less she is a stunner and one of the best Austin roses I think!

img 0835 Six on Saturday 23rd of June.

My clematis last year were crap to put it lightly, first year after planting and they were mildewed rubbish, this year is another matter and Rosalyn is the first one to flower for me

img 0834 Six on Saturday 23rd of June.

And she is growing though one of my last roses to flower, the rare blushing lucy, this once flowering rambler is Just starting to open now

img 0841 Six on Saturday 23rd of June.

This Geranium is a total stunner! But also a total pain in the backside to over winter, it the 4th time I have tried to grow geranium joy and you can see why I want too, let’s hope I am lucky this time

img 0837 Six on Saturday 23rd of June.

Let’s finish with another geranium, this ones called brook side and is a great geranium, flowers all summer long and so easy to grow and look after

That’s my six for the week, I hope you enjoyed them and don’t forget to pop over to the memes host, the wonderful, the king of the cuttings himself, The propagator!

 Six on Saturday 23rd of June.
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The glory of the moss roses

rosa common moss1 The glory of the moss roses

Moss roses are a distinctive group of roses, their flowers fill the air with fragrance whilst the soft sticky growth that covers their buds, act as sellotape on anything that passes by. The moss roses are indeed part of the larger centifolia group of roses but these roses at sometime, produced sticky soft growth to ward off sap sucking insects like aphids. The rose breeders during the 1800’s leaped apon this natural deviation and bred even more roses that were covered in this sticky soft mossy type growth. Some as a result were slightly less sticky than others!

 The glory of the moss rosesThis mossy growth is basically formed from the glandular projections that cover the Rose stems and buds, this is what gives the roses the scent. In moss roses this somehow took a slight turn and became this soft sticky fragrant growth, which to many smells of spicy apples.

The moss roses were introduced to the uk from Europe in about 1700 and indeed many 100’s were bred although sadly we only have a handful of that figure left

Well here’s 10 great moss roses to give you a taste of what this fabulous plant can bring us, some grow to a few feet tall while others make 8ft quite easy. They are indeed a great group of roses to grow

mousseline 2 The glory of the moss roses

Mousseline was bred in France in 1855 and repeat flowers thoughout the summer, fragrant and gets to about 4ft tall

general kleber 3 The glory of the moss roses

General kleber was bred in France in 1856, great quality blooms which are highly scented, flowers in June and July only. grows to about 5ft tall and is great rose for a large pot

rosa celina  The glory of the moss roses

Celina was again bred in 1855 in France, smells Devine but does suffer quite badly will mildew but the striped flowers are stunning to say the least

rosa henri martin5 The glory of the moss roses

Henri Martin, bred in France in 1863is one of the real stunners of this group, it’s flowers are one of the darkest of the moss roses and changes to a deep red as it ages. It is well scented, can can be successful grown either as a supported shrub rose or as a climbing rose

rosa oeillet panache3 The glory of the moss roses

Rosa oeillet panache is the only stripped moss rose left now sadly, it’s fragrant flowers only born during June and into July. It is a sport off the common moss rose

james veitch The glory of the moss roses

James veitch is a little stunner, bred in France around 1864, it barely gets to 2ft in height and flowers all summer long although sadly the flowers aren’t the most highly scent of the group. It also grows well in pots

little gem The glory of the moss roses

Little gem is One of my favourites as well, wonder scent and gets to about 3ft high in the garden, it’s featured in my six on Saturday a few times now. Bred in the uk in 1880

rosa common moss1 The glory of the moss roses

Muscosa is the father of them all, this stunning rose has been around for over 400yrs now, it can get to nearly 4ft in size and flowers just the once

rosa shailers white muscosa alba1 The glory of the moss roses

Shailers white Mose rose is a sport off the common moss and can indeed at times revert back to the pink form just as the pink form can at times throw up this white form, again highly scented and once flowering. Though to of been around since 1790.

james veitch2 The glory of the moss roses

William lobb, well I am saving the best to the last, one of the most highly of scented and beautiful of all the moss roses, indeed is one of my top ten roses of all time, bred in France in 1855 it a big rose growing to over 6ft as a shrub or 8ft as a climber. It works well trimmed as a shrub or having the long stems pinned down, but it is as a climber it performs best as. It flowers on and off all summer long

I hope you enjoyed my brief look at moss roses and this will led you to enjoy, study and hopefully grow many of these stunning plants. There are lots more available than I can list or feature here but this is just a taste for you all

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Six on Saturday, 9th of June 2018

I love this time of year more than any other time, I think it maybe just because I have a deep deep love of roses, wild flowers and Hardy Geraniums, for those plants, it’s the time of the year that the both of them are at their peaks during this month. But that said, I think this time of the year is when the gardens have really come to life, the range of greens from the new foliage looks green and fresh, so many flowers are just hitting their first peak and it’s not only the garden this is happening. A drive around the hedgerows in the country, they will be filled with the soft white of cow parsley, the odd bit of blue of geranium pratense and if you are really lucky, a area of orchids. These native plants are also just coming to their best now.

Not doing too much in my garden at the moment apart from enjoying the flowering plants and the scent my roses are filling the air with, nothing nicer than relaxing in the garden with a cuppa or beer and enjoying the garden, well that’s until I spot a weed or a spent bloom I missed a few minutes before. That said my six below may disagree with me! Now I will say that there maybe one or two roses below, that’s my little warning for this week but tough it’s my six and I love them!

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Well that’s torn it! My forsythia needed pruning and after months of mental turmoil about whether it should stay or go now, if it’s goes there will be trouble but if it’s it could be trouble, so darling let me know, should it stay or should it go, well sorry The Clash, it’s gone, now what the hell do I do with this space!!

img 2957 Six on Saturday, 9th of June 2018

The first rose this week, Rosa Magna Carta is a Heritage rose and it repeat flowers thoughout the summer, smells stunning and looks gorgeous, great rose

img 2962 Six on Saturday, 9th of June 2018

Even with my next plant I have got roses sneaking in, Geranium Patricia is a stunning hybrid that is one of my favourites and works so well with my roses. Flowers all summer long and I planted this as memory plant for my partners Nan who sadly pasted away a few years ago, a lovely lady called Patricia

img 2964 Six on Saturday, 9th of June 2018

Souvenir de Jeanne Balandeau is again a highly scented repeat flowering heritage rose, just look at the beauty of this plant

img 2967 Six on Saturday, 9th of June 2018

Linaria Lucy’s Pink is another new plant for me, brought from a small nursery last year, I love the pink flowers that seem a little larger and wider spaced than other linarias,

img 2970 Six on Saturday, 9th of June 2018

I always feel that the flowers of sempervivums look very much like the alien bursting out of the person in the film alien, but that said they also look very beautiful. Also once the individual rosette flowers, it then sadly dies but with so many new rosettes coming up, the plant is never lost.

Well that’s my six done, I hope you enjoyed them and look forward to seeing you next week, I may of started planting up the font space caused by hurricane Tom or started another project…..

until then, happy gardening and don’t forget to pop over to the host of the Meme mr propagator https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com Just be careful he doesn’t try and propagate parts of you

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Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

img 2861 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

June! June! It can’t be be June already but the garden is proving me wrong, with so many of the June plants showing me it’s June, with the roses really starting to get going and their fragrance is starting to fill my garden. But what a week it has been, very hot and sunny and then it rained and boy did it rain! My glass left on the patio table, had 65mm in it after just being outside for 12hrs. This time last week I was heading up to Chelsea for the flower show and I had a great time there, so many stunning plants and gardens too see and inspire from. Not had to do much in the garden this week, it’s all just ticking by nicely, I do have some plants to add to the garden and now the soil is a little moist and I hopefully will get them in, I also need to plan and plant up my front door pots, just can’t decide what to put in there this summer, seen one plant I like to use and slowly adding a list together. One thing that has been decided is the removal of the forsythia in the front garden, that’s going by by this weekend!

Right enough waffling, I need my cuppa and weekend toast and the little one is of the same opinion! Again this weeks 6 is going to be a rose feast with a few others added but my roses are going away nicely now and need to be shown off!

img 2861 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

First one is a rose I planted last year and is just so beautiful to look at and the scent is stunning. Champion of the world is a Hybrid perpetual rose and that will repeat flower all summer long, it’s been around since 1894

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Let’s have a poppy now, never sowed them, they just appeared in extension of the flower bed when I did it last year. Poppy seeds last for years and years in the soil, just waiting to be exposed and when it does, boom there they are!

img 2863 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Rosa iceberg is one of the most popular hybrid teas grown, this is one of the only plants now left in the front garden I haven’t added too

img 2848 1 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Now this little sod has been in my first alpine container for the past 3 years, just sat there doing nothing and now it’s decided to flower and how lovely they are indeed, if you want to grow it and wait for 3years, it’s called Bergeranthus glenensis

img 0771 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Rosa little Gem is a beautiful moss rose, bred in 1840, flowers Just once but the scent and flowers are amazing and it works well in shade as well as full sun

img 0772 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Now this is one of my favourite roses, flowers on and off all summer with these scented flowers, pretty disease free and tough as old boots. It is a rose that should be and deserves to be grown wider, such a great garden plant, it’s name is Amanade paternotte!

Well that’s my six for this week, I hope you enjoyed them and have a great weekend gardening, I know I will 😀 and enjoy the other six on Saturday over at the hosts site https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

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Davidia involucrata

davidia involucrata 5 Davidia involucrata

Davidia involucrata is now in full flower with the white blooms covering the trees almost like white doves fluttering in the branches or handkerchiefs that have been picked up by a big gust of wind and spread them all though the tree.

davidia involucrata 3 Davidia involucrataI can imagine how thrilling it must of been to first clap your eyes on this tree growing wild and seeing the stunning flowers for the first time just like the first Europeans discovering the tree for the first time. It was one lucky chap , a French missionary called father Armand David who first came across it, flowering away in a Chinese valley in 1871 and sent specimens back to France. The seeds didn’t arrive in Europe for a few more years indeed it was the first plant hunting trip by one of the greatest plant hunters of them all, Earnest Wilson who in 1901 managed to send back seeds to Kew Gardens. This was despite being attacked by bandits, suffering a deadly illness and recovering and finally nearly drowning! Damn glad I don’t have to suffer like that to get my hands on one!

davidia involucrata 7 Davidia involucrata

Never-less this beautiful tree with heart shaped leaves and seed pods that look like Christmas baubles hanging from the branches, is well worth the effort of going to see one in the next week or so, just admire its beauty!

davidia involucrata var vilmoriniana Davidia involucrata

Next week I will highlight another plant that is looking beautiful

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Six on Saturday- 19th of May 2018

img 2778 Six on Saturday  19th of May 2018

Well happy Saturday one and all and it’s great to be back writing the SoS for the first time in a couple of weeks. This excellent meme helps to focus your mind of 6 things that are happening in your garden, yes at times it can be hard to find them but other times you end up with 10 or so things you could include but have to whittle down to 6. This also allows you time to wander around the garden, relax and enjoy things that are happening in there at the time. I think anything that helps you enjoy the hard work you do in the garden and helps to share the successes and failures, is great in my book.

Anyway a lots happened in the last few weeks and the garden at home is really coming on, the roses are budding up and I managed to get to a great plant sale on bank holiday Monday and I do expect those plants brought will be making an appearance soon. My roses are a little late this year, full of bud with colour occurring, I feel they will be open soon, right mr Stone lets get on with the six!

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Geranium phaeum Connie Broe is one of those marmite plants, you either love it or hate it, I have a soft spot for her indeed and I love the marbling foliage on this plant and I look forward to seeing the foliage and flowers each year. As soon as she finishes flowering this year, I shall be lifting and dividing and replanting once more.

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One plant I think will feature heavily this week is Allium purple sensation and it is looking wonderful at the moment. It’s big selling point has to be the fact it gives a little bit of height and colour just after the tulips have finished

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About 18months ago, I went to a Niwaki training day held at Architectural Plants and led by the great Jake Hobson and this is the tree I cam back home with. I am still training it and have just given it its first trim up, quite pleased!

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Yes yes another geranium, this time it’s Himalayense Derek Cook, himalayense has a nasty habit of taking over the world, so far Derek has been well behaved, just hope he carries on like this!

img 2777 Six on Saturday  19th of May 2018

Not a rose flower but a close up of the new foliage and buds, just how lovely are the buds and new leaves of this moss rose called little gem, I love the softness and the scent from the mossy growth, soon the flowers will be out and the scent from those will be even better

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The lovely flowers of sea thrifts are slowly appearing and Pride of Düsseldorf is one of my favourites, such an easy to grow plant that loves a free draining site and makes a perfect addition to my Alpine pots.

Well that’s my six done from my garden this week, so many plants now are starting to wake up and start delighting us with their beauty. I hope you have a great weekend and check out the other six on Saturday over at the hosts site https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Until next week, have fun in the garden or indeed just admiring plants

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Underplanting roses- part 2, a few idea

img 3948 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

In last weeks post, (just here in case you missed it I spent a bit of time going though the ideas behind underplanting roses and it’s advantages, this week I shall be be looking at a range of under planting that will suit a wide range of roses and of course their different colour flowers. This list isn’t meant to be a bible but just a mere stepping stone into the future path of plant discovery. Now this blog could cover a few hundred plants but I shall keep it short at around 12 Plants just to give you a few ideas to get things started

Geranium pratense ‘Mrs Kendall Clark’

img 4974 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

Now I could go on about the history of this Hardy Geranium and how it’s not the real form but let’s leave that to another blog, Geranium pratense ‘Mrs Kendall Clark’ tends to flower just the once mainly but it can repeat a couple of times during the summer months. It’s light blue stripped flowers do tend to suit single coloured roses, either in pastel colours or it can just about get away with the darker reds too

Eryngium giganteum

img 6694 1 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

is much better known as Miss Willmott’s ghost. This biannual appeared the year after Miss Ellen Willmott visited a garden as she had a habit of spreading the seed in a garden during her visits. This is one of the most useful silver plants to have in the garden, it just works with any colour and almost any Rose! It is very good at self seeding itself all around the garden but it is easily removed if it’s in the wrong place. As it is a biannual, it will just form a rosette of leaves in the first year and then flower and die in the next.

Digitalis purpurea f.albiflora

img 5112 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

Another biannual is the beautiful Digitalis purpurea f.albiflora or the pure white foxglove. This plant gives you so much height within the border and is important mixed in with the shrub roses and their range of pinks and reds. These towers of white help to give the border some height and purity to the border. One word of warning, if you want just the pure white forms be certain to remove any with any hint of purple!

Sisyrinchium striatum

012 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

This is a odd looking plant with iris like leaves and dainty light yellow flowers followed by black seedheads. It’s colour and strap like leaves makes it a good plant to mix in with roses of a wide range of colours,from white to dark red. As well as working with a wide colour range, it works well with a wide range of heights, again with roses ranging in height from 45cm to 2m. It does selfseed a little but is easily replanted into the correct place

Campanula latiloba

img 6699 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

This delightful campanula comes in a few different colours, Hidcote Amethyst is a amethyst colour, the main form is blue and the white form called alba is also a very good plant to use and it will cover a wide range of roses. It will also flower for May weeks from May into August depending on the year and weather

Anchusa azurea

bed09ab2005 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

The Italian bugloss as it is more commonly called is a bright blue perennial that will repeat flower during the year. This blue colour works again with so many colour forms of roses. It has hairy leaves that may cause a rash on some people ie me! It grows to 50cm in height and can be cut down after flowering to encourage more to come through.

Dianthus old garden hybrids

img 4141 1 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

These small plants add more to the roses than just their beautiful range of pink flowers that fill the air with a clove like scent. They also bring a great shade of grey needle like foliage to the party. Their small size makes them ideal for planting around the edges of the roses and through smaller roses. They also do a great job at the front of the borders by helping to hide the bottoms of the shrub roses, which can be a little unsightly but don’t tell them please

Geranium psilostemon

img 5058 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

Geranium psilostemon needs a little more careful partnering although used correctly it can really uplift the surrounding roses. It’s difficulty comes from the colour and the height, it surprisingly works well with a range of pinks and white flowers just the sheer brightness can at times over power the surrounding plants. The other thing to watch out for is the height, it can grow to 1.2m which can over power a lot of roses, so again it needs bearing in mind when using

Penstemon ‘Pensham Wedding Day’

img 5124 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

Penstemons are great plants to have in the garden anyway but they make great additions to the Rose beds. As they repeat flower throughout the summer, they make great companions to repeat flowering roses and this white form suites pink and red flowering roses.

Penstemon ‘Hidcote Purple’

penostemon hidcote purple Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

While the purple form of Penstemon Hidcote Purple works so well with white and pale coloured roses, again it’s repeat flowering helps to bring colour to the borders even after the roses have finished flowering

Tanacetum parthenium ‘Flore Pleno’

img 3948 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

The double flowered version of feverfew is one of the most underrated plants we grow in the garden, this double version just flowers all summer long with attractive lime greenish foliage again really helps to set off the darker greens of the roses and other plants. The flowers are like tiny buttons and are quite delightful. It does self seed a little but that’s what friends and plant sales are for. It does have one advantage of attracting aphids to them and away from the roses. Works with a wide range of rose colours, indeed not many colour flowers it doesn’t work with

Cotinus coggygria

img 1106 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

We all need a little bit of purple foliage in the garden don’t we and Cotinus is the best at this. It is indeed a large shrub that is ideally suited for the bigger garden but it can be kept coppiced back each year to form these larger purple leaves and I have found a light prune in July keeps them down a little in size and helps to bulk up the size of the plant. Works well with a wide range of rose flowers.

This is just a small drop in the ocean of what you could do, the only thing that should stop is time and cost. Don’t be afraid of trying things that may sound silly like using Dahlias and other half Hardy Plants, they can and do work, it’s just getting the right combination. So please give it a go and enjoy growing roses in a way that enhances all the plants in your garden.

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Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

2015k Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

2015k Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

There’s so many titles I could use instead of underplanting roses, mutual enhancing planting could be one or companion planting could be another but that said it could also be just mixed border planting with roses as the main shrubs. This style isn’t new, it was started but the great Irish gardener William Robinson, who loved the English Cottage garden style, picked up by the great Gertrude Jekyll but it was the Graham Stuart Thomas that really brought this style to modern British gardens, Graham was influenced by Gertrude and William and used the walled gardens at Mottisfont to produce his finest works helped as all great artists are, by a talented young (at the time) head gardener called David Stone. These gardens do show what can be achieved by careful planing over time. Now I will get one thing straight, this blog is about how to achieve the effect, the benefits of it and how to manage the feeding of the soil. I could spend ages listing plants that go well with certain roses but that may not be your tastes and not work well in your garden.

011 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

So why firstly go to the trouble of mixing it all up, why not just have rose beds? Very good question just need to try and answer it. Personally I am not a fan of monoculture or growing one thing in a large bed on its own, I feel it doesn’t look right for me personally but there’s other more detailed reasons other than my personal options. Mixing up the planting helps to bring in different foliage and flower shapes that help to break up the roundness of the rose flowers and shapes. These can add spikes, bells, indeed any form and shape to the pattern of the Rose and help to enhance both. Even larger flowered plants like peonies can be used with great effect with the roses. The key to whatever flower you are using is to differ from the rose in some way whether it’s size, shape or colour. Going back to the peonies for a minute, a large single Peonia works well with a semi double or a double roses as the simple ness of the peonia makes up for the complexity of the Rose and vice verse. Same with colour, matching the colours is the most important side, img 6694 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsusing sliver foliage thoughout the bed helps to enhance most Rose flower colours but using darker coloured foliage doesn’t enhance as wide a colour spectrum. It takes time to learn what colours work well together with the roses and other underplanting and the best way is to workout what works with you in your settings, personal taste and soil type. Same again with the heights, a lot of the roses tend to grow to certain heights, Bush roses are around 2-3ft in height and shrub roses are around 3-5ft in height so it’s being careful not to have plants that are too powerful growers to take over the roses and of course vice versa.

img 1104 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsI have seen it done with Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ used as a mass underplanting of Rosa Rugosa ‘Hansa’. The ideal was beautiful, a massive of slivery blue under the darkish red of the rose but it failed as the Nepeta form was just too strong and powerful for the roses. A much smaller form like N.fassinni would of worked well. And also with Geranium macrophyllum used as an underplanting on Bush roses, once established, there was about 10cm difference in height between the two and it looked wrong, changed it to Geranium x cantbridgense hybrids and it worked well, with this form much more smaller growing. It is a tricky job to match them up but the results can be well worth it and once you start to get your eye in, you can start evaluating most of other plants on how they will work well with roses. They can then be planted up and trailed, it works well that’s good, if not well, starting again can be the fun part. It’s also working out what will work well with your soil and local conditions as well.

bed d 05b Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsOf course it’s not just getting both the underplanting and roses flowering at the same time, underplanting can be used to extend to seasons of interest from much before the roses open and to well after they have finished, using plants like spring bulbs like tulips, alliums, asters (in the various new names of course) clematis and of course topiary! Adding plants like dahlias and late flowering salvias can be done as a more modern twist in the borders. Plants like Helleborus argufoloius, flower early in the year but the foliage adds something to the borders during the summer months too. Again it’s just a case of playing with plants and see if it works. I have found the helleborus x hybridus forms difficult to add to roses, until I tried them with Rosa rugosa hybrids and found they worked well with the different foliage of the rugosa.

img 5123 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsunderplanting roses can also do so much more than just enhancing the roses, it can also help the health of the roses. How? Well in various different ways, take Blackspot for an example, the spores from the fungus are transported from the infected rose by water droplets. These hit the rose, pickup the fugal spores, splash down onto the ground and then up onto the next rose, infecting that one as well. Underplanting slows down the droplet speed once it’s hit the rose and cushions the fall of the water onto the ground, reducing the splash effect and other plants then also stop this splash from hitting the next rose. Powdery mildew is spread by wind, catching hold of the spores and spreading it to the next rose, underplanting between the roses, adds another small barrier to help reduce this spread.

img 0975 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsThen there’s the insect pests like aphids, just as in organic growing, a sacrificial plant can be grown to attract them to it and then this plant will attract in aphid eating machines like ladybird larvae to feast on them. Growing a wide range of flowers will also attract in a wide range of beneficial insects like hover-flies that again will feed on the any pests around, the seedpods left late until the season attract in birds to feed on them, these birds normally come in large mixed flocks and they will also look for insects hidden on the roses.

2006c Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itshow to feed the roses is one of the big questions I am normally asked in concern with underplanting roses. The answer is a little more complex, I don’t believe in feeding just for one plant, I believe we should be feeding the soil and producing a heathy soil, one that can support a wide range of plants easily. Once the soil is healthy, the plants growing will be stronger and more able to fight diseases and pests. So I tend to add a fairly organic fertiliser to the soil in early spring, covering the whole area not just around the plants and then mulch with a garden compost or composted green waste. This I find is enough to keep both the roses and underplanting happy.

img 1091 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsIn all mixing up the planting with roses is indeed hard work but it is a way of growing them that is both pleasing to the eye and one that does have good health benefits for the roses too.

In the next part, I shall have a closer look at some of the underplanting that can be the most overall use for underplanting through roses, it won’t be a complete list but just some of the ideas of combinations to try

global blogging feature Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its
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Plant of the week- Kniphofia rooperi

kniphofia rooperi 3 Plant of the week  Kniphofia rooperi

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This weeks plant of the week, is one of the last flowering red hot pokers and for me it is one of the best as well, I love the shape and the colour of this special red hot poker that really light up the border like a torch! The 3-4ft flower spikes are borne over the evergreen foliage from about now up until the first hard frosts hit, they just add a delightful torch of light into our borders, just in time to darken up our sometimes dull autumn days. Even when not in flower, the leaves, add a great architectural element into any garden.

kniphofia rooperi 3 Plant of the week  Kniphofia rooperi
It is a South African plant that loves to live in the damp valleys and that’s one thing to remember when looking after it. Kniphofia rooperi loves to grow into a dampish humus rich soil, in a sunny area but it will grow in drier soil as long as it is well mulched and looked after. It’s very easy to propagate as well, either from seed sown and left over winter in a cold frame, from dividing up the plant in the spring, using a carefully aimed spade to divide up the clump or indeed from cutting the new growth in the spring and potting on into compost. It was named after the great German botanist Johann Hieronymus Kniphof. He wrote one of the greatest books of the 1700, Botanica in originali.

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This beautiful clump is at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens but is used in so many more beautiful gardens around the country. Again it’s pretty easy to buy from various nurseries like Hardys Cottage plants