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What to plant alongside shrub roses?

I am planning a cottage garden from scratch, which must of course include roses. I love them, but have noticed (looking at others) that the base can seem very bare compared to the top which is often full of leaves and blooms in the summer. How do you avoid them getting 'leggy' and what other plants can you grow around them to fill in the barer areas? Thanks 


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,740
    edited September 2019
    Nepeta is a traditional choice to plant around roses ... it looks gorgeous around almost every colour of rose.
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 7,413
    ..all sorts of things but if in doubt, plant a Geranium.. lots to choose from... 
    East Anglia, England
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,821
    I like to add some ornamental alliums because they help deter aphids who don't like the oniony smell.  Lavender is another good one if the position is sunny enough.   They won't like wet feet or soggy winters.  

    Hardy geraniums come in a wide variety of flower colour, leaf form and plant heights.  

    In my own new rose beds, I'm also adding penstemons, peonies, verbascum phoenicum, perennial cornflowers, agapanthus and there will be geum and perrenial potentillas too, rather than the shrubby form.   This autumn, bulbs will be added too so that I have a long successon of flowers for colour, perfume and pollinators.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • My Rosa Mundi had got very leggy and scruffy looking, so this spring, heart in mouth, I cut it right back, having checked first that there were plenty of shoots at the base. It took a while to grow back, but has looked amazing for most of the summer, fresh green and bushy and masses of flowers that can still be seen now. I'm going to try it on some others next year!
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