What ground cover do you like to plant around your roses? Preferably one with flowers? I live in So Calif. pictures would be appreciated.
Hardy Geraniums (Cranesbill), Coreopsis, Perennial Flax (so beautiful), Lavender, Walker's Low or the smaller variety Dropmore Catmint, Dwarf Bee's Balm, Dwarf Astilbe that are sun tolerant, the Blue Ice variety Amsonia and Evening Primrose are some of my favorites.
I like silvery or grayish foliage, fuzzy texture if possible;
things like lamb's ears, artemesia/Dusty Miller, etc.
There's one area where some very nice culinary sage complements the roses!
Geranium 'Rozanne' or Geranium 'Jolly Bee'. Small root system that does not interfere with roses root system. Plant spreads out, but not the roots. Doesn't reseed. Blooms almost year round. The lavender-blue color complements any and every color rose.
In SOUTHERN California, artemisia/Dusty Miller has a tendency to grow large and woody. When we had it, whacking it back was a constant chore.
Dwarf Lavenders seem so far to be more controllable, and we are experimenting with Salvias -- but all of these things require some controlling, here.
If you're not going to spray, Sylvia's suggestion of culinary herbs is appealing, I think.
But do keep in mind that many of these things will require watering in California, where there is no summer rain.
El Nino year aside, we ARE getting our water allotments reduced. A nice thick layer of Western Pine Bark mulch keeps beds attractive, helps reduce water use, and suppresses at least some weeds.
Jeri in Coastal Ventura County.
love this jolly bee.... thank you
Here is a link that might be useful: jolly bee images
In Colorado, it rains in the summer.
Salvia and lantana down here where it doesn't rain in the summer. My companion plants don't get water- each rose gets 1 dripper and the rest of the flowers have to fend for themselves. I use blue and purple salvias and the white and lavender trailing lantana. Bat faced cuphea is great if you can find it. Blooms all summer with no water.
In two of my beds I have alyssum which does die down in the summer at which time I rake it up. When cooler weather sets in and it rains it always comes back again and looks nice at least six months out of the year.
I like Alyssum too Ingrid. Don't you love the smell of it?
Michelia, I suggest you look for nurseries specializing in California native plants -- there are more and more of them.
You need things that don't mind surviving without summer irrigation.
What about weeds? Do any of these crowd/smother weeds? Other wise forget them. I can't imagine trying to weed around 130 or so roses. Maybe use them in a small/featured bed.
White ostoporeum daisies -- but then again, they would proabably compete for the available water if it was scarce -- the ostoporeums would probably win. My rose beds are irrigated.
I love feverfew with roses. The little white flowers help disguise my horrifying color combinations. I also plant paludosum daisies under the roses.
What about weeds? Do any of these crowd/smother weeds?
Mulch, baby, mulch! :)
Oh, I also forgot in my earlier post about Cupid's Dart with roses. A very pretty, non-stop blooming effect. Perennial Flax is also a huge favorite that blooms all season long.
hoovb I don't understand how it is possible to mulch out the ground cover from the weeds. I mean we are talking about fractions of an inch separating a weed stem from a GC stem. And then weeds are notorious for sending shoots through almost anything. I picture me sitting on the ground combing through GC/weeds.
Jim - I have the same problem. I'm thinking of putting a thick layer of pine straw down for a year or so and hopefully this will kill most of the weeds (actually, it's bermuda grass that I'm most worried about), then perhaps I can plant a pretty flowering ground cover under my roses. At least that's my plan for now. Anyone care to comment if this will work or not?
Holleygarden, They sell a grass killer that doesn't kill ornamentals. The working ingredient is fluaziflan or something like that. It works but takes many applications. Bermuda is hard to kill. What I do to keep weeds down is put down boxes- I collect them from Dollar Stores- then mulch on top. Makes the soil better AND you can plant perenials right through holes in the boxes.
(actually, it's bermuda grass that I'm most worried about)
*** Holly, pine straw ain't gonna kill bermuda grass.
We've tried all that stuff -- black plastic solarization, even grass-be-gone ("Floozy Flop"). (Tho that's the best so far.)
The roots of the stuff go 6 ft deep, and I have yet to find anything it cannot survive.
I truly believe that after the Apocalypse, bermuda grass will be there to keep the cockroaches happy.
Have you guys tried Preen? I find it's very effective. It won't kill weeds already germinated..but it will keep more from germinating
hoovb I don't understand how it is possible to mulch out the ground cover
Very sorry for the misunderstanding created, jim_w_ny, I was thinking of Geranium 'Rozanne' and Geranium 'Jolly Bee'. The stems spread out quite far but the root system is concentrated in one small area. Easy to mulch, easy to weed, easy to keep away from the rose roots. Far easier to deal with.
Ground covers that spread by roots are a different story, I agree. I mostly avoid them, especially around roses.
Thanks for the tips on dealing with the Bermuda grass. I'll definitely try the cardboard boxes.
Nemesia - nice colors, easy, reseeds a little
Alyssum - reseeds lots here in So. Cal.
Tarragon - Tough and beautiful
Thyme - tough and smells good
Cranesbill - spring flowers
Catmint (I planted some seeds in a pot then divided it up and planted it in several spots last spring. It's pretty easy.)
Heliotrope - summer flowers, fragrant
Lobelia - love blue but rabbits might eat it
Lambs ears - tough
Evening Primrose is suggested from a poster from Canada, but here in Oklahoma, it has been named an invasive plant, and it is really invasive. It has taken me years to get rid of it, and after a few years there is no beauty in it.
I am taking notes on all the other plants, and think this is a great thread.
Please keep in mind that there is a huge difference between Canada and Oklahoma.
I have some dianthus that's doing well. And of course sweet alysum to feed the ladybugs. Blue pincusion flower does well too.
Oops I spelled it wrong above. It's really Osteospermum -- otherwise known as "freeway daisies" in these parts because they require so little care. When they do get the same care as roses -- fertilizer and water -- they bloom year round. And the white ones stay low and make a solid carpet of white -- much prettier in mass than as single plants -- but easy to grow from cuttings. The purple ones however, are climbers and you have to keep untangling them from the plants above them to keep them low. So, white is best. Haven't tried the other colors.
Here is a link that might be useful: White Osteospermum
There are many varieties of evening Primrose. Some are invasive anywhere, including here. Others much less so and easily controlled. The ones I grow are not invasive and have very shallow roots. If they grow somewhere I don't like, I just pull them out of the soil very easily.
My neighbour grows poppies. Now they are invasive!!! LOL.
But yes, one should always consider the climate and zone of anyone making recommendations.