Gone are the days when hybrid roses were about the only roses available for use in landscape designs. Modern landscape roses, both shrub and ground-cover kinds, supply plentiful opportunities for use in most designs. Possibilities exist for incorporating roses in residential and commercial designs as well as in public spaces.
The publication of Bold Romantic Gardens: Shrub The New World Landscape of Oehme and Van Sweden, two decades ago, pioneered the concept of “The New American Garden.” Landscape architects Oehme ans Sweden used landscape rose in many of the landscape designs highlighted in this book.
The characteristics of modern shrub roses are that they are resistant – not immune, but resistant – to insects and common rose diseases; deliver many bloom cycles; and display many low-maintenance features such as minimum pruning.
However, to obtain the best of these characteristics these roses need some essential conditions for growing:
- Good air circulation,
- Full light and at least six hours of bright sunshine a day,
- Friable soil that contains plenty of humus (organic matter) that is a neutral pH, neither acidic nor alkaline, and
- Long infrequent drinks of water at plant bases instead regular short amount of irrigation such as lawns require.
Some landscape design uses for shrub and groundcover roses include:
- Accent or specimen plantings,
- Shrub or perennial border backgrounds,
- Foundation plantings,
- Ground covers,
- Ornamentation for walls and fences,
- Low Hedges,
- Sound barriers or screens,
- Arching over arbors and pergolas, and
- Container plantings.
Some of the more popular and easy-to-obtain shrubs roses that will be featured in future articles, are:
- Canadian hardy roses in the “Explorer “series introduced by the now defunct rose breeding program of Agriculture Canada;
- Knock Out® Roses, Drift® Roses and Meidiland® Landscape Shrub Roses are all introductions of Star® Roses and Plants;
- Home Run® and Pink Home Run® introduced by Weeks Roses are now part of Proven Winners family of plant selections;
- Simplicity® Hedge Roses are available in fiver different colors and were introduced by Jackson and Perkins;
- Oso Easy® Shrub roses have been selected for a variety of outstanding sizes, shapes and colors. They are also part of the Proven Winners family of plant selections;
- David Austin’s English Shrub Roses combine the forms and fragrances of old roses with the repeat-flowering of modern roses. There is an Austin rose to suit almost every landscape design situation except shade, sand and clay soils.