No mixed border would be complete without roses for color, scent, and beautiful flowers. With few exceptions, modern shrub roses will bloom from early summer to fall (diligent deadheading will encourage them toward the end of the season), thus earning their place in the border more readily than an old rose that looks glorious for just two weeks a year.
If you yearn for the old-fashioned charm of near-globular blooms packed with petals, or curiously quartered flowers, rose breeders today have managed to combine these qualities with a repeat-flowering habit. Varieties such as ‘Graham Thomas’, ‘Leander’, and ‘Charles Rennie Mackintosh’ keep the style of old roses but flower more than once.
Roses look their best in a mixed planting but can be segregated to create a formal rose bed. In the border their bare lower stems can be concealed by companion plants, such as lavender, catmint, and hardy geraniums.
LEFT: Pink “Mary Rose” and yellow “Graham Thomas” are complemented by purple pansies and two weeping forms of trees – maple and pear.
AN ANCIENT ROSE
BELOW: The striped flowers of Rosa gallica “Versicolor” – one of the oldest roses in cultivation – are borne for a few weeks in summer.
OLD MEET NEW
ABOVE RIGHT: Rosa “Graham Thomas” has large old-fashioned double flowers in a warm shade of yellow that are produced more or less continuously.
A BED OF ROSES
ABOVE: Here roses have been used in a formal setting, crisply edged with box and underplanted with antirrhinums.