Roses and Clematises in a Small Natural Garden

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If you want your small city garden to evoke natural spaces and offer something to wildlife, a classic combination of roses and clematises is perfect for you.

As both plants have noticeable life cycles; from early buds to waterfalls of flowers, followed by rosehips and seedpods, they contribute to an ever-changing picture and offer food to various insects and birds.

This small front garden in Toronto, Canada started because of practicality. I moved into a neighbourhood known for dog lovers, and many dogs, no matter how cute, leave unpleasant surprise on people's lawns and gardens. A simple solution was to plant roses that repel dogs by their thorns. Then I planted a border of Chinese chives (Allium tuberosum) that can tolerate dogs. I also believe that alliums can protect roses from fungal diseases. The next step was to find something to suppress the weeds that grow among the roses, and voila: I now have a natural garden in which clematises drift among the roses.

In Zone 5, both roses and clematises start blooming in late June and peak in July. For those who like deep colors, I cannot think of more prototypical flowers; red roses and purple clematises.
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Another classic color combination is creamy white and deep velvety red; Autumn Delight rose and Rouge Cardinal clematis.
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Pesticides and herbicides are not allowed in a natural garden, so I rely on disease resistant roses. So far, Flower Carpet roses have never disappointed. Here in the first row are Red, Yellow, Salmon and Apple Blossom Flower Carpet roses.
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By now you can tell that I prefer single flowers. I also like sprays of small flowers like the ones on this Scarlet Meidiland that is arching over Red Flower Carpet in the corner, and Fire Meidiland on the right, close to the pathway. There are several Betty Boop flowers in between (cream with scarlet border.)
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On the other side of the garden is a prolific and vigorous Red Meidiland rose (single red with a white eye.)
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One thing that I learned about clematises is that they will never climb as I want them to; at some point I had to give up and let them go wherever they wanted. Pink and Scarlet Flower Carpet and Bonica roses are in the lower right corner. Carefree Wonder is above them.
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It seems as if the roses are taking a short break in August.
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Red Flower Carpet roses just cannot stop blooming at the end of August.
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No matter how small your natural garden is, little creatures will find you, like these bumble bees on Chinese chives flowers. An Angel Face rose peeks out at the back, left side.
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In September, there are only some clematis flowers left, but Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora) on the far left extends the season.
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Here is beautifully fragrant Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora) in close up.
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Although this white Huldine clematis has finished flowering, its seedpods add interest to the garden. Carefree Wonder rose mixes with Pink and Scarlet Flower Carpet. At this time of the year, some black spot may show up on rose leaves. Since I only plant disease resistant plants, they just shrug off black spot.
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In October, the colors are changing and you can tell that a Canadian winter is coming.
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October is really the end of season for us.
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The roses will continue to bloom until first frost, which usually comes in November. Red Flower Carpet, Knock Out, and Fire Meidiland roses will bloom perhaps a bit longer, trying to defy the coming winter.
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Comments and discussion:
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Lush Garden by quietyard Apr 30, 2015 4:32 AM 12

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