Roses forum: Does anyone grow groundcover roses?

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Name: aka GardenQuilts
Pocono Mountains, PA
Andi
Oct 30, 2010 6:12 PM CST
I would love to read design advice and/or see pictures of groundcover roses used successfully in a garden.

I put groundcover roses in front of my rose bed. I have Fire Meidiland in a different bed with some strawberry plants. That one is doing well. Even though that bed gets all natural care, that rose has the least blackspot of any in my garden.

My current challenge is the groundcover rose "Baby Blanket" in my main rose bed. Although this is its first full year in the garden, it has sent out thin canes up to 12' long with branching canes up to 6' long. It has reached the sidewalk and is covering some taller roses that are slower to establish. I donned a leather jacket, jeans and gloves and started wrestling with the "Baby Blanket". I have trimmed the canes back to 3-4' and begun to rescue a couple of slower to establish roses at risk of suffocation.

Nearby is Vineyard Song (I think that is its name, a Moore rose) which has grown bigger and wilder than expected. I cut it back a bit as well. Both were tangled together. Yikes. I felt like I was wrestling a prickly octopus. At one point, I got my hair and my jeans caught. While I was already miserable, I got the weeds pulled out from around these roses. Of course, a stray morning glory was complicating matters.

I have already been moving the mini roses to the front of the flower bed - I had extended the bed to the sidewalk earlier this summer. The major problem is too many plants in too small a space, but ...well....they all have names. I want to make my growing plant collection look as beautiful as possible. I want a cottage garden with mostly roses, but today I felt like Brier Rabbit in the brier patch.

I still have to get to the Austin roses growing on a trellis. Actually, they are overgrowing the trellis and waving at passersby (or giving me an obscene rose gesture, I'm not sure which).

I would love to have the front of my rose garden look like NewYorkRita's "floribundaville". At the moment, I have a couple of monsters and some tiny plants establishing themselves. This is my first garden, it is a work in progress.


Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Oct 30, 2010 7:41 PM CST

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Floribundas and polyanthas usually are well behaved and easy to keep in line, but you never know what's going to happen with other classes of roses. I've moved minis out of containers into rose beds, carefully planting them in front, but they invariably put on a growth spurt when they get out of the containers and start dwarfing all of the floribundas behind them. It doesn't help that I have a preference for mini-flora roses -- the minis that already grow up to 3 feet in most gardens and run wild when they get into mine.
Name: aka GardenQuilts
Pocono Mountains, PA
Andi
Oct 30, 2010 8:05 PM CST
I am quickly developing a preference for hybrid teas, floribundas and Austin roses. I am also getting braver about pruning. My minis are still mini, but they bloom a lot. They are in front of hybrid teas. I'll see what happens.

I hadn't been feeling well, so things got a bit out of hand. I should have everything in place in time to start piling on the winter protection.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Oct 30, 2010 9:04 PM CST

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I personally prefer hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, and Austins because they're more predictable and they don't take up as much room as most of the OGR's. There are some Austins that go nuts and get 10 times as big as you'd expect, of course. I'm having that problem with Tea Clipper. I never expected it to shoot up to 10 feet tall in the first year. It's also quite wide. So far, I've pruned it back twice and surrounded it on two sides with a trellis and a pillar-shaped structure, but it might take more than that to keep it within bounds.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Oct 30, 2010 9:40 PM CST
I once grew Sea Foam. It was among the easiest roses to care for I think I have ever grown. The foliage looked great when the rose was out of bloom rich and dark green and shiny. It was well covered with leaves, so it did a pretty good job of choking out weeds. It was generous with blossoms when it was in bloom. It was not, however, a great rose either for flower form or for fragrance. I planted Carefree Wonder six feet away and by the fourth year it had melted away completely from black spot. Made me wonder what part of it was carefree.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Oct 30, 2010 11:10 PM CST

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I have the very same problem with Carefree Wonder. It looked great the first year and has been going downhill steadily since then. I was going to replace it, but after hearing that you've had the same problem, I may just decide to live without it.

Carefree Delight, on the other hand, improves with each year. It didn't impress me that much at first, but now it's vigorous and large and blooms like crazy.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Oct 31, 2010 8:55 AM CST
Sea Foam does well for me also. It does not, alas, choke out the weeds and is very difficult to weed beneath. I have another "carefree" rose: Carefree Beauty an Earthkind rose. It is a very casual looking bush that flowers copiously and leaves impressive orange hips. My experience with groundcover roses is about like yours, Andi - good luck!
Porkpal
Name: aka GardenQuilts
Pocono Mountains, PA
Andi
Nov 1, 2010 5:34 PM CST
Baby blanket is looking better since I cut it back a bit. I am going to have to prune it to keep it in bounds. I like the effect of the low growing rose in front of a taller, leggier rose. I also like the other groundcover rose adjacent to the strawberry plants. Both the groundcover rose and the strawberries send out runners, so they are oddly compatible. The rose blooms gives summer interest to the otherwise boring strawberry plants.

I think groundcover roses may be happiest on a gentle south or west facing slope. Perhaps in combination with a dwarf flowering tree. They would cover the slope that otherwise would be difficult to mow with a lawn mower.

They root easily anywhere the branches touch the ground, especially if a rock is placed on the canes. I did this a few times this summer to keep a tall cane down.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Nov 1, 2010 5:39 PM CST

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The strawberry/rose combination sounds wonderful, Andi.

Of all my roses, I think Sea Foam is the best at rooting wherever the canes touch down.
Name: aka GardenQuilts
Pocono Mountains, PA
Andi
Nov 1, 2010 6:03 PM CST
One friend gave me the strawberries, another the red groundcover roses. They work well together. Neither will choke out the other.

Ironically, the unintentional "rock rooting" of the groundcover roses was my most successful rose propagating effort to date.

I don't grow seafoam. I better not even think about it. I don't have room for another "vigorous" rose. I could maybe squeeze in floribundas or very upright hybrid teas.
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Skiekitty
Nov 2, 2010 9:34 AM CST
Andi - If you want an upright HT, definitely Blue Girl will fit that bill. Very upright. Very very upright. Like, straight up. All 5 of my BGs are showing the same exact upright behavior. Same with Outta the Blue.. very upright (vase shaped.. narrow at the ground, tall & bushy like 3' up). My original BG is like over 6' tall now with 3 canes shooting straight up. I know that I didn't get a climber version.. the nursery I got her from doesn't carry BG climber.
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Name: aka GardenQuilts
Pocono Mountains, PA
Andi
Nov 3, 2010 9:11 PM CST
Thanks for the tip on Blue Girl. I have seen some in body bags, but passed. A wax covered, dessicated rose is not worth moving rocks for...at least not until I get better at propagating roses on purpose.
Name: Mike Stewart
Lower Hudson Valley, NY (Zone 6b)
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Mike
Nov 4, 2010 5:15 AM CST
For some reason Blue Girls work well for Toni. I've tried three of them over seveal years and have eventually gotten rid of each one because their blooms look and smell wonderful -- for about ten minutes in my garden. Then they quickly turn brownish and mucky.

As for ground cover roses, I grow a very large, sprawling Red Ribbons that is truly a continuous bloomer, just beneath a dwarf, bonsai-like pine tree on a sloped rock garden. They look great together.

Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Nov 4, 2010 11:33 AM CST
My Red Ribbons from Edmunds never actually made any new foliage in the eight weeks after being planted last spring - despite being watered daily for at least three weeks and three times a week for at least five more. I suppose it really didn't like the sand/gravel soil it got placed in. It's a rose that a local landscaper recommended. I suppose I might try it again.
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Charter ATP Member Irises Salvias Xeriscape Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Skiekitty
Nov 4, 2010 12:13 PM CST
Steve - You should remember from living in NJ.. that part of the country, you plant Cheerios & you'd end up with a donut tree. The land out that way is ridiculously fertile.

Mike - Pix?
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Name: aka GardenQuilts
Pocono Mountains, PA
Andi
Nov 4, 2010 4:15 PM CST
It depends what part of NJ, skiekitty. Northern NJ is rocks and tree roots. Near the shoreline is sand. Further south is the pine barrens. It is a small state, with lots of variety. I am just over the border from NJ in the mountains. They call this area "the slate belt."

Maybe your ground cover rose needs some time to take off. Mine were planted last spring, but didn't start sending out long canes until this summer.

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