Rose Gardens


Since the Roman times, gardeners have revered the rose above all other flowering plants for the extraordinary beauty of its blooms. The rose family offers an enormous range of flower shape, colour and scent, and few plants are as varied and versatile in their growth habit, height, foliage and form.

One of the most popular ways to grow roses is in a formal rose garden, which is dedicated to displaying the flowers in beds shaped to reflect their classic elegance. Generally, standards and large-or cluster-flowered bushes are used as permanent bedding plants, grouped in blocks of colour. The rather upright and stiff growth of such bushes lends itself to the formality of bedding.

Rosebeds may be designed in any shape or size; at the edges of drives or paths they may be narrow and ribbon-like, or elsewhere they may be round, oblong, square or even triangular. When planning a formal rose garden, experiment with different layouts and shapes of beds on paper in order to decide the best design for the site. The beds should not be made so wide that access to the roses for mulching, spraying, and pruning becomes difficult.

Standard roses may be used to give height to any bedding scheme. Placing a single standard in the middle of a round bed creates a graceful symmetry, while several standards placed at distances of about 1.5 m (5 ft) along the middle of a long bed will help to break up its uniformity.

When planting, bear in mind the variations in eventual height of different cultivars. For a bed in an open area, choose cultivars of a relatively uniform height. However, a rosebed that is backed by a hedge or wall is often more attractive if the roses at the front are shorter than those behind.

If mixing cultivars in the same bed, plant no less than five or six plants of the same cultivar together in a regular formation to create significant blocks of colour; not all cultivars reach their peak of flowering at exactly the same time. A garden planted with variations on a colour theme (for example, deep and pale pink with a touch of white), creates a harmonious effect that is far more pleasing than a busy crowd of colour.