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Roses on my driveway

We live in hardiness zone 7 and our house has quite a long gravel drive (about 30 metres), with beds either side which are about 2-2.5 metres wide.  The drive is south-facing and sloping (about 1:10).  To the east is a laurel hedge and to the west is a neighbour's garden separated by a wire mesh fence.  The soil is sandy loam, alkaline, free-draining but relatively poor.  

I am looking to plant something which will give colour and interest, and preferably perfume too, but which will be tolerant of cold winters and warm, sometimes dry summers.  

I have been growing lavenders from seed since the spring (Hidcote, Munstead & Elegance Sky) and rosemary, and my plan is to use these as between and underplanting for some rosa rugosa.  I will probably go for Roseraie de l'Hay which is said to be strongly perfumed and will tolerate poor soil and drought.

The rose growers are now accepting orders for bare-root stock.  

My question is, is this a good plan, and should I go for all one variety of rose or perhaps use other varieties too?  My personal feeling is to stick to one variety, to make it more integrated and 'designed' rather than a cottage garden feel, but I'd welcome other people's thoughts & ideas.

I will need quite a few roses to make a border on each side, so it is a fairly large financial investment for me, not to mention my time and effort, so I'd like to do 'a proper job' first time, if at all possible.


  • My advice is to go with what YOU feel is right!

  • kate1123kate1123 Posts: 2,815

    The lavenders sound perfect for your soil, I have some sort of hedge rose in my front garden, it never grows above 2 feet and would work well with lavender.

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    Indeed Roseraie de l'Hay does have the most wonderful perfume, like something from which attar of roses is made - but, it does not flower all summer long, unlike others of the rugosa group.  You might want to think about that, but having said that, I wish I had known it before we planted our mixed hedge, I would have added more of them!

  • Paul NPaul N Posts: 303

    I think your idea sounds really good. Roserie de l'Hay is a rugosa rose and extremely trouble free, healthy and require little pruning. One word of warning. Whilst rugosas tolerate poor soil, no rose enjoys sandy soil so I would dig in lots and lots of well rotted horse muck to improve the soil. All one colour - deep red? Fine and it does have a wonderful perfume. Leave the large red hips to over winter so don't deadhead them.

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