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Rose companion planting

Hello, I'm looking for some knowledgeable peeps to help me plan a rose border.

I'm digging it in my parents garden. It will run along the patio so I want lots of nice smelling roses in there but I don't know what to plant with them.
It's clay soil. I think something evergreen at the base to give a bit of structure during all seasons might be good but I'm clueless as to what! First thought, potentilla? 
Any help appreciated! 

Posts

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 22,824
    For low care perennials you should look at geranium macrorrhizum which has scented foliage which stays evergreen but goes red in all but the harshest winters.  It flowers in April/May with palest pink to strong purpley pink flowers depending on variety.  All you need do is tidy up tatty foliage in March.

    Underplant with spring bulbs such as daffodils and hyacinths and maybe some alliums which will also finish flowering before the roses start to flower.

    Another, truly evergreen possibility is bergenia or pachysandra if you want really low maintenance.  Potentilla are either herbaceous perennials which die down over winter or small deciduous shrubs.

    Lavender is good with roses too and its perfume can attract pollinators and deter aphids but it's not good on heavy clay soils.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • FfoxgloveFfoxglove UkPosts: 381
    Hi Obelixx thanks for your advice. For some reason I thought potentilla were evergreen! Duh!
    I've never heard of that geranium so I'll definitely try that. I've got some pachysandra in my garden so I'm  familiar with that one. I love lavender but I do worry about the soil. 

  • SophieKSophieK Wimbledon, LondonPosts: 71
    Ffoxglove said:
    Hi Obelixx thanks for your advice. For some reason I thought potentilla were evergreen! Duh!
    I've never heard of that geranium so I'll definitely try that. I've got some pachysandra in my garden so I'm  familiar with that one. I love lavender but I do worry about the soil. 

    I have clay soil in Wimbledon and my lavenders have been growing very well, just add a bit of compost when planting. They are evergreen, divine scent, and loved by pollinators - go for it
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 3,901
    I garden on heavy clay soil but digging in tonnes of grit, compost and manure means I can stretch what plants I grow, including lots that prefer a free-draining soil, like achillea and agastache. Lavender always dies on me though, apart from L x Intermedia. The only true evergreen (well, everpurple) I use for underplanting is Euphorbia Blackbird. I’ve just acquired some parahebe to accompany the roses tho, that is allegedly evergreen/semi-evergreen depending on where you live. It remains to be seen of if survives my sub zero winter temps, however!
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