Roses will always by the star of the show, but planting other plants alongside them can help to enhance their beauty, hide their flaws, keep the soil cool and even repel unwanted pests.
Naturally in the world of plants, some get along and some do not. Roses do not generally like to compete for water, nutrients or sunlight, so avoid plants that might crowd your roses or provide too much shade. Look for clumping-type perennials or grasses that stay contained instead of spreading aggressively beyond their boundaries.
To add a bit of interest to your garden, plant perennials and large shrub roses in mixed borders. The Garden and Home Magazine recommends introducing these rose companions; alstroemetias, anchusa (cape forget-me-not), catmint, campanula, delphiniums as well as various daisies, gaura, irises, lavender and garlic.
Groundcovers like ajuga, asyssum, calamint, violets, evening primrose, lambs ears and mondo grass when planted alongside your roses, make an excellent living mulch. They help hold in soil moisture and protects the plants roots from drying out.
To confuse insects, grow a variety of strong-smelling plants alongside roses. Garlic and herbs with strongly aromatic leaves like lavender, basil, Russian sage, scented geraniums, santolina, southernwood, tansy and wormwood are excellent as insect repellents.
Planting roses and vegetables together is nothing new. Both grow best in full sun, like level beds, fertile soil and need regular, ample watering. In fact, they were used in traditional English and French gardens to attract pollinators, especially bees, to fertilise the veggies.
Select roses that free up ground space like standards, and upright spire roses for the back of veggie beds. You can also use climbers and shrub roses that can be trained up a pillar, on a trellis or over an archway. In front of the roses, grow compact vegetables such as beetroot, carrots, cabbage, kale, lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes, chillies and sweet peppers – these won’t overwhelm the roses or block out their sun.
Source – Ludwig’s Roses, visit www.ludwigsroses.co.za