Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Dreamy Plant Combination



I have a preference for using roses in mixed borders - roses mixed with bulbs, perennials and annuals. I use companion plants with a long flowering time like hardy geraniums, nepeta and salvias. Plants like irises may not bloom long, but the spiky foliage add texture, even when they do not flower. Springflowering bulbs like crocus and tulips and fallflowering corms like gladiolus prolong the flowering season in the mixed borders.

I have chosen not to grow roses as a monoculture, and not use a mulch as ground cover to prevent weeds and retain moisture. I can do this because I live in a climate where we get plenty of rain and only need to water in May to August if it has not rained for weeks. I add a layer of compost, mushroom compost and aged manure in the fall. Many of the companion plants I use in the front of the borders, serve as an effective ground cover and help prevent weeds and retain moisture.

I use some annuals as fillers in the mixed borders. They fill out the spaces left behind, when I remove the bulb baskets. I don´t use many annuals. A few of my favorites are Nigella, Opium Poppies and various Lobelia and the very fragrant Matthiola Longipetala and heliotrope (an anual here). I start these as seedlings indoors early April and after being hardened off I plant them out, where I want them in the mixed borders.

Last year I saw Lori posted a picture of a combination of some of my favorite plants: Roses, hardy geraniums, Allium Christophii and Nigella. I already used this combination in my own garden, but I saw that using a little more Nigella created a very airy, dreamy effect. Very, very pretty! And great inspiration, that is easy to create in your garden. I prefer the blue flowered Nigella, but the white ones are also useful. Nigella is great to use in bouquets. Most often the seed capsules are used and they can be dried too. I prefer not to let them selfseed in the fall. It is possible to get Nigella to last longer, if you sow 4 weeks in between. Oh - and do get yourself some more of those pretty Allium Christophii next fall!

Hat tip to Lori for inspiring me (and hopefully you) to sow more Nigella. The rose in her picture is the bourbon rose; Madame de Sévigné, A repeatflowering old garden rose. Other roses I recommend using in this combination could be the Austin roses: Alan Titchmarsh or Princess Alexandra of Kent.

30 comments:

Sylvia (England) said...

Niels, I do agree with you but my husband is convinced that roses need to have a clear space around them. He does like love-in-the-mist so I may pop some seeds in - they do self seed (there is also plenty of this seed in my home-made compost) so he will never know! I have some Allium Christophii which were lovely last year, I am hoping they will come back this year but I must buy some more in Autumn. I think they look amazing,

Best wishes Sylvia (England)

Niels Plougmann said...

One of the advantages of having low growing noninvasive underplantings or plants next to roses, is that when it rains, they will prevent the rain from splatter fungi-spores up unto the leaves of the roses.

On the other hand a dense planting prevents some airflow and the leaves to dry as fast, allowing some spores to germinate. In Rainy UK however this is hard to prevent - and choosing roses with good disease resistance is very important here than in areas with less rainfall.

Yes they do selfseed - that is why I remove the plants before the seed pods mature.

Allium Christophii repeat bloom year after year. After 3 years it might be a good idea to dig the bulb up and remove the smaller bulbs. This way you will get more! Alliums also self seed, but it takes 3-4 years before the small plants will bloom.

Hope you are doing well Sylvia!

Sylvia (England) said...

Niels, good disease resistance here means they get black spot! The air is very clean in my garden due to the sea and no fires nearby. I am going to train myself not to see spots on leaves and rely on good feeding and winter clear ups. I do have one rose that doesn't get any black spot - a yellow banksia.

Best wishes Sylvia

buedamau said...

i always had something against roses, not that i don't think they are beautiful, just couse i don't like to see them alone. the soil usually stands bares naked, and i don't particulary like that as you know...
but this compositions you always make are just great and seems almost natural! and all that colours standing until the end of summer?! you're a real master niels

queenofseaford said...

Niels, I love the color combination and the airy affect of the Nigella and Allium make it dream like. Just wonderful!!
Janet

Roses and Lilacs said...

Niels, great post. You touched on a topc that really interests me. What a lovely combination. A fellow friend and blogger shared some nigella seed with me and I plan to use it this spring. Your photo has given me some ideas of combinations I may try.

In my area we are very dry so I do mulch heavily which makes it difficult for annuals.

Sadly I am no longer planting new roses due to the invasion of Japanese beetles. AS long as my existing roses continue to thrive I will enjoy their May and June flushes and prune them back during July-Sept when the beetles ravage them.
Marnie

perennialgardener said...

A beautiful combination of perennials with that rose! I do the same thing Niels. They look so much better than standing on their own.

Raquel at Cool Garden Things said...

Fantastic...I love the delicate and ephemeral quality of your plantings. I like to combine roses with fountain grass for a similar but nowhere near as elaborate effect!

VW said...

That is a lovely combo, Neils. I think roses look better with other plants mixed in - beds full of roses and nothing else look blobby to me. VW

Niels Plougmann said...

Well Sylvia - Peter Beales always said - What is a few spot among friends"? I have however seen some Kordes Roses that are disease resistant. Laguna, Champagne Moments and Cinderella. Never seen a fleck or spot on those. Fragrant too!

Like I wrote this is Lori's picture from her garden - She did really well here! She deserves the praise!

Buedamu: Arrangements of containers with different plants can create great combinations - and they can be moved around! Lori was the master behind this.

Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

Sorry to hear you live in an Area infested with JBs Marnie. I love roses so much I think that I would move to an area with no JBs, so I could grow roses. But they are spreading in the US. Many have begun to go back to once-flowering roses adn just enjoy the spring flush. I hate JBs and I am going to write an article about these disguting critters.

blossom said...

Niels, this is trully beautiful. I want to try it in my own garden. Thanks for sharing.

Steve said...

Hey Niels, you better drop by. I have become your pimp! ;-)

Chandramouli S said...

The final effect is stunning, Niels! In fact, I'm sure roses wouldn't look so beautiful if grown alone as a single crowd. That's cool!

flowergardengirl said...

I was thrilled to see you mention mushroom compost. I use it too and it has helped my soil to retain moisture and nurtients from the little critters that feed off the hyphae. This grouping of plants is very attracitve.

buedamau said...

i believe you niels, but i'm always putting seeds or new plants everywhere so it's difficult to stick with a plan until it's ready ;P
by the away, i have a blog-award waiting for you at my balcony!
if you're interested on it, just stop by around there...

Pomona Belevedere said...

I'm so in favor of roses grouped with other plants, I agree they look sort of bare and sad as a monocrop, whereas this picture really is like a beautiful dream. This is indeed an incredible combination, and I hadn't seen Allium Christophii before. For those who want to know, there is such a thing as love-in-a-mist in shades of pink and rose. I just planted it this fall so I have no reports. The variety I planted is called 'Miss Jekyll's Rose'.

Philip Bewley said...

Like the title of your last post I think this combination is divine. I love the nigella with the hardy geranium and roses. Just lovely.

Ingela said...

Beutiful photos! Love the plantkombinations.

//Ingela

Creative Country Mom said...

So beautiful, those are my favorite colors. I am so glad I found your site. I need to take more pictures of my roses this summer!

~Brooke
http://creativecountrymom.blogspot.com/

Roses at Wedgwood House and Gardens said...

Thanks Niels for posting this beautiful picture, and thanks Lori for sharing a piece of your delightful garden with us.
Have a great weekend.
Pauline :)

sweet bay said...

Lori's garden is beautiful. I love the combination of roses, Geraniums, Alliums and Nigella. It literally looks dreamy.

Bren said...

That color combination is AMAZING!!! Thank you for sharing - happy Bloom Tuesday from my garden in the Midwest.

VW said...

Niels, are you alive over there? I've been watching for your next post. Today I picked up a 2-pack of 'Crown Princess Margareta' english roses. Do you grow that one? I'm going to try mine as climbers against a wall. Looking forward to your next post - VW

Patsi said...

Very impressive!
Never seen a combination like that before...looks stunning!!
I really like to try it.
I have to save this post for reference if you don't mind.
Compost is a must in our gardens every year.
Thanks,
Patsi

FJL said...

HI there, your roses are awesome, I hope I can have them in my place :) its so romantic..

wormandflowers said...

WOW, that's such a lovely planting, it looks so whimsical and dreamy! I love your suggestions, will have to try some, esp poppies and nigella.

LJ said...

Hi Neils-I love your posts, you are a great help to a new gardener. I wanted to let you know I planted my sweet peas again this year, I can't wait for them to bloom!

Viooltje said...

Best wishes and a happy birthday! We miss more of your wonderful and inspiring posts.

Ajitech said...

It is good to see the mix of rose and other plants. That's a nice image of Rose Garden and also its color combination.

A rootdigger said...

I too, am in love with that photo, can you tell me who the Lori is>

Love those alliums. I shall have to research the items in your picture to see if they would work in zone five / four.
wonderful blog.