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Uses for Roses

For formal bedding schemes. The beds are usually of simple geometric design — circles, squares etc., each bed containing just one variety, unless the bed is very large, when the roses can be planted in blocks of one colour. Hybrid teas, flori-bundas, patio roses and miniatures are most suitable here.

For informal beds and borders. Most types of rose can be used in this situation. There are a lot of arguments for and against mixing colours and varieties; I feel this is a matter of personal taste, but large areas tend to look better if more than one of each variety is planted, either in blocks of, say, three or more, or in sequence using possibly three toning or contrasting varieties.

For example, if you were using 3 roses of varieties A, Β and C, you could plant one row in the sequence A, B, C, the next in the order B, C, A, and finally C, A, B, throughout the bed. This gives you an overall colour effect which is quite interesting if you like that sort of thing. Smaller borders in ‘cot-tagey’ gardens look all right with varieties completely mixed. Remember to make sure you match the heights — you cannot mix them if some grow four feet high and others only two feet, unless you put the tall ones at the back (or in the middle of an island bed), coming down to the shortest at the front, but you have to do your research first, preferably locally, as different areas affect plant habits differently. If in doubt, stick to one sort.

In a mixed border. Real enthusiasts may throw up their hands in horror at this suggestion, but it is perfectly feasible to use roses

In a mixed border provided you do it properly. Bush hybrid tea and floribunda roses look better planted in groups of three or more. Old-fashioned shrub (‘species’) roses are generally less formal in habit and grow bigger, so can be planted individually.

In containers. Bush and climbing roses can be grown fairly successfully in large tubs provided they are planted correctly and regularly fed and watered. Miniature roses are suitable for smaller troughs and window boxes, again making sure they are looked after properly. Although this is possibly the only way the patio, roof or balcony gardener is able to grow roses, it has to be remembered that they do not look very interesting in winter.

As specimens. Some shrub roses and standard hybrid teas and floribundas can be used as individual specimen plants in a lawn or paving. Bush roses can also be used for this purpose in paving or gravel, but look ‘bitty’ if planted like this in a lawn, are difficult to mow round and look untidy if the edges of the planting holes are not properly maintained, making a lot of work. Climbing roses can be grown up poles in shrubberies to give extra height.

As climbing plants. Climbing, rambler and some shrub roses make good wall plants and can also be used to cover pergolas, arches and rustic screens.

For hedges. Most bush and shrub roses, planted in rows of one variety, make very attractive flowering hedges.

As ground cover. Some ramblers, dwarf climbers and prostrate shrub roses can be used for this purpose if allowed to scramble over the surface of the soil.

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