Flower Favorite: The Rose

Find out why the stunning bud is a classic flower garden staple.

Clematis and Rambling Roses Create Scented Arbor

Clematis and Rambling Roses Create Scented Arbor

Photo by: DK - The Complete Gardener's Guide © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - The Complete Gardener's Guide , 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Reigning supreme as queen of the flower garden for hundreds of years, the rose has exquisite beauty, elegance, and fragrance that remain unrivaled. Today, modern disease-resistant hybrids that combine the best of the species’ charms have caught the eye of contemporary designers and made roses more fashionable than ever. 

With around 150 species of roses and thousands of hybrids and cultivars to choose from, you cannot fail to find a rose that appeals to your sense of style and taste. Choose from elegant hybrid teas—the classic flowers of traditional rose gardens; thorny species with their large, beautiful blooms and glossy rosehips; or compact patio roses to dress up a summer container. In confined areas, use the vertical space, and train a climber to decorate your walls and fences with foliage and sumptuous blooms. 

With such variation in flower form and structure, roses are among the most versatile of all garden plants. Traditionalists may like them confined to their own beds, but if you choose this style, opt for disease-resistant roses that will not succumb to blackspot and lose their leaves. Alternatively, mix and match roses with other shrubs and perennials, which not only extends the season of interest but also helps to disguise leggy or leafless plants.

Standard roses make striking features in parterres and formal gardens and look stunning when underplanted with lavender. Or use one as the centerpiece in a large container display on a patio surrounded by summer bedding.

Species shrubs, such as Rosa alba and R. rugosa, and modern hybrids are excellent choices for hedges, their thorny stems providing cover for wildlife and acting as a deterrent against human intruders. Climbers and ramblers are also effective in wildlife gardens, but really come into their own in English-style designs. The tried-and-tested pairing of roses and clematis epitomizes a romantic idyll when plants are left to scramble over an arch or around a doorway.

Plant container-grown roses at any time of year and bare root roses in the winter, after soaking their roots in water just before planting. Many roses fall prey to the fungal disease blackspot, which, although not fatal, produces ugly black spots on the leaves and stems and causes foliage to fall. Reduce the risk by selecting disease-resistant hybrids. Aphids do not kill established plants, but may damage new flower buds and stems.

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