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Roses : Using Roses in the Garden

Bush roses were bred for use in formal rose beds. The large-flowered bushes are best for formal rose beds near the house, and for cutting. Cluster-flowered bushes are ideal for beds of showy colour and could also be planted in groups at the front of a shrub border, or even singly. Cluster-flowered bushes are better suited to poor conditions, especially wet areas, because their flowers withstand rain better.

Rosa ‘Lili Marlene’

Rosa ‘Lili Marlene’

Choosing bush roses is a matter of personal taste, but there are do’s and don’ts. Choose either large-flowered bushes or cluster-flowered bushes. Do not mix them – the results can be very messy. Neither should varieties of large-flowered bushes be mixed in the same bed because mixed colours take from the effect of formal elegance.

The more showy cluster-flowered bushes can be mixed, but stick to two or three varieties – avoid the ‘fruit-salad’ effect. Try to match the varieties for height – use the taller ones to the back, or the middle of a bed, mixed border or island bed – and choose complementary colours. Research the variety and try to see it growing – visit St. Anne’s Rose Garden, Clontarf, Dublin, or a rose nursery during the flowering season.

Standard roses are used in the middle, or at the back of large rose beds, to add some height.

Standard roses are used in the middle, or at the back of large rose beds, to add some height.

Standard roses are used in the middle, or at the back of large rose beds, to add some height. They have long been used as specimens on their own, but less so nowadays. They could also be used in groups, or singly, in a shrub border behind low, non-competitive plants to give summer colour.

Being true shrubs, the shrub roses are best placed among other flowering and non-flowering shrubs. They bring colour to a shrub border in late spring and early summer. The shrub roses can also be planted as specimens on their own and some of them make good informal, secure hedges.

Climbing rose: Rosa ‘Seagull’

Climbing rose: Rosa ‘Seagull’

The climbing habit of growth of climbing and rambling roses makes them ideal for covering walls and unsightly large objects. They can also be grown on flowering garden trees to give more interest, or on an old tree stump, pillar or pergola.

Miniature roses have become very popular for patio and container growing. They can also be used on rockeries, and as house plants.

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