Rosebed & Rockery

I have two spots of land in my garden that for various reasons are now sitting empty awaiting planting up. I want both a small informal rose garden with lavender and the like in one area and I am also very keen to have a small rockery, perhaps with a little water feature in it in the other. 

I had originally decided that the hot sunny patch would be nice for the roses (7 hours per day sun, lovely soil) and the other spot, which was going to be started from scratch could be made into the rockery by mixing an appropriate concoction of soil and other 'stuff'. 

Now someone who has a lot of gardening experience has told me the roses will find the sunny patch too hot and the rockery plants will find my proposed spot too shady and that I should swap them over. This rather messes up my plan of having a sunny, scented rose garden to sit in at the bottom of the garden sheltered by an arch of climbing roses. However, I am prepared to listen to reason. image

Therefore, I'm checking whether all you other experts agree with this theory before I go ahead and spread manure all over the wrong patch?

Many thanks for input and advice, all options considered. image

(Roses already ordered are David Austen  Jean Mermoz, Pat Austin (Ausmum), Charles Rennie Mackintosh).

Gardeners, I think, dream bigger dreams than emperors. – Mary Cantwell


  • As you can actually grow Roses in the likes of Saudi Arabia, I imagine much depends on how much maintenance and pampering you are prepared to do ?

    With the rockery, most planting that immediately comes to mind would benefit from good light and sunshineimage

  • Thank you Philippa.

    The original spot I thought of for the roses is a hot spot, but is bordered by a couple of small apple trees which do offer a bit of shade especially later in the day. I was only going to put four roses and a climber in the area and then some easy ground cover geranium and lavender so am quite happy to devote some time to the roses and have loads of manure to keep them well fed. I realise they might need a lot of watering but again with only 4 it can't be too much of a burden (can it??).

    The area I was considering for the rockery is more shady than the other really hot sunny spot but it is not completely shady. It is in shadow in the morning but gets the afternoon sun until about 6 ish most of the summer, obviously longer and shorter according to the time of year. At the moment the back drop is some bamboo which is quite tall, but I could/would consider chopping it down quite a bit. There is also a large pampas grass at the approach to the area which is obviously quite tall at the minute but takes all year to get that way. 

    Really can't make a decision for myself, obviously want best place for both projects to flourish, that is the main criteria but felt the original plan I had fitted in well with the overall layout of the garden better.The rockery with the smaller plants nearer the main area of the garden more and the rose garden as a sort of 'destination' with the bright colours and fragrance drawing you over to the end of the garden. 

    Sorry, just thinking out loud on here more than anything, could equally write an argument for it being the other way around - please someone put me out of my misery so I can get gardening! image

    Gardeners, I think, dream bigger dreams than emperors. – Mary Cantwell
  • DD.......I can understand your predicament but I think you are probably going to have to go with your instincts.  Written descriptions and photos are very useful when asking advice but you are the one on the ground so to speak and know your limitations as well as your climate.  Of course take on board the advice from others but the final decision is always going to be yours....right or wrong.

    Having created gardens from nothing in both Spain and France, I found the best idea was to look around your neighbourhood and ask.......really no different to creating a garden anywhere.  Whilst your soil and orientation may differ slightly, it usually gives you a basic guide as to what flourishes and what just exists.

    No one ever gets it right first time anyway so you have to be prepared for some errors......if you are unsure if something will survive or not, don't waste too much money on the first plants.  Oops, just looking at your list from David Austin, that advice may be a bit lateimage 

    Hope you get it sorted out soon and can start planting....have faith in yourselfimage

  • Thank you again Philippa, my 'expert' adviser who initially queried my plan has already written off the DA roses as an expensive mistake! The only thing in my favour is that I am very tenacious (my OHs polite description of stubborn) and also very competitive, so come hell or high water those roses will thrive!

    Think the deciding factor may well come down to where the rocks are situated, OH does not involve himself in gardening and is closing his ears to suggestions of 'helping' with heavy rocks, so the easier option may well win, although again the tenacious and competitive part of me refuses to be beaten into submission. 

    Hopefully, will be posting a pic on here sometime next June of two marvellously successful projects! 

    Gardeners, I think, dream bigger dreams than emperors. – Mary Cantwell
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 13,739

    Having seen your rose place, I wouldn't worry about it. It looked fine to me. Some roses love sun. My Lady Emma Hamilton is in a pot on a sunny terrace and it's flowered almost none stop. I am going to put Pat Austin in a pot next to her. Paul's Scarlet Climber is on a hot sunny wall and it blooms amazingly. Your place wasn't totally full sun, there were trees, when I saw it it was fairly shady, end of afternoon. Soil looked good. Just don't let the roses dry out when we get a more typical hot Dordogne summer.

    I am a bit off rockeries, having had one that got infested with bindweed. I think here it may get too hot and well drained. I would prefer a raised gravel bed with rock plants in it, if you really want alpines. They aren't so easy to find here as in the UK either - loads of common stuff like aubretia.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 5,330

    Hello Damsel!  Just a word of encouragement about rockeries...  My "rock bank" was created out of necessity, to use existing stone in the garden and make sense of an impossibly steep slope.  However, its situation is far from ideal in that it's very shady and the climate is not in the least alpine (Pennine drizzle abounds).  But I reckoned there were plenty of shady, mountainous areas with attractive plants growing in them, so it shouldn't be impossible to find things which actively preferred growing in shade, and so it has proved.  Plenty of colour, too.  So if you have a rockery in your mind's eye, a rockery it should be, in my opinion!  Too many "experts" try to tell you you're not doing things the way they should be done.  It's your garden, so I really think you should follow your instincts - you're clearly a born gardener, judging from your posts on this forum.  image

    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • Oh Liri, what a compliment, I do love it I'll agree, but definitely a true organic learning curve, as in slow and not always looking like others expect. 

    BL - A gravel bed with rock plants in it - those are the words that perfectly describe the vision in my head - thank you. 

    Feeling much more confident now about these projects, will go with my instincts, thank you both. 

    Gardeners, I think, dream bigger dreams than emperors. – Mary Cantwell
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 55,675

    Enjoy it - looking forward to the pictures image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • image


    David Austin, planted nearly 25 years ago.  South facing house wall, narrow border, chalk 'soil', no chance according to your expert. Very hot summer and little rain here in 2014. This is this year's second flush, there will be another yet if all is as usual.  First blooms appear April/May, still at least 2/3 by Christmas.  I do like pruning and deadheading anyway and it gets a good footing of compost in the Spring.I main prune  first chance I get which is any fine spell in January, after that it's when I deadhead.  I also sling suitable feed on the ground, mainly because the solid chalk is inches down. 'Looking like others expect' has never been an ambition of mine.  image




  • What have I to worry about then DUK - they look rather fabulous! Don't suppose you remember the name? image

    Gardeners, I think, dream bigger dreams than emperors. – Mary Cantwell
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