Thinking of roses gives a romantic feeling to many of us, we think of the beautiful fragant flowers. Roses have long been used in the English Border wich gave them a ‘classic’ peformance. Declining interest in gardening at the end of the last century caused a loss of popularity in roses and other garden plants.
From the beginning of this century we can see a growing interest in gardening by a new generation of young gardeners, they show a growing interest in sustainability and biodiversity and choose for naturalistic and ecological designs.
The more natural approach to a planting design creates a rich animal life in our piece of imitated nature in which plants remain healthier. Structure has become more important then color. The plants in these gardens consists largely of native species in the form of grasses, annuals and perennials which often is chosen from a selection of plants native to the American prairie. In many of these designs including those by Piet Oudolf we also see the use of shrubs and small trees. But where are the roses gone?
Roses deserve a place in the natural garden, if you consider what role they have had in most garden styles so far. The big choice in this group of plants offers plenty of opportunities for a place in any kind of natural garden.
The English roses of breeder David Austin bloom from june until the first frost. The roses of David Austin have beautiful fragant flowers and smell gives an additional experience. Spray roses have smaller flowers sitting together in a bunch these roses have a natural look and combine very nicely with perennials making them ideally suited for a natural garden. Miniature roses are actually spray roses and have some small and stuffed flowers and because they often not exceed 50 cm they fit perfectly between perennials and grasses.
Shrub Roses come in many shapes and look different, also the ground cover roses belong to this group. The last group of roses that I want to mention as suitable for the natural garden are of course the botanical roses by their natural look and certainly also because they attract a lot of wildlife.
Most rose varieties give us beautiful often fragrant flowers the whole summer and in autumn in addition, many kinds of beautiful leaves some shiny, red or gray-blue colored. How a plant looks after flowering is an important aspect in the choice of a natural garden plant and in that respect we are in roses, with a rich variety of different rosehips, certainly good!
The maintenance of roses is not all that different than that of shrubs as occurs in the natural garden. Shrubs should be pruned annually in these gardens, keeping them in a compact appearance and not too much to dominate. English roses are also pruned annually in January or March for two-thirds or half. Shrub and botanical roses are pruned ligtly after flowering. Spray roses are pruned in march.
By all roses the wild shoots must be removed. Roses like a bright spot and fertile soil. A known disadvantage of roses is their susceptibility to diseases such as black spot, mildew and infestation by lice. By the high biodiversity in the natural garden roses often stay healthier by the presence of natural enemies.
Buy your roses direct from the breeder, this will give strong and healthy plants.
We have to look at roses from a new ‘natural’ perspective. Many roses have a natural look and are a great choice for the natural garden. They have a long flowering period and a great smell, this will give a extra dimension to the natural garden. The afterlife of roses with their large variety of rosehips are a welcome addition to the biodiversity of the natural garden because they atrrack a lot of wildlife. The maintenance of roses can be compared to the shrubs in the natural gardens. So let’s Go Wild! with Roses.