Can anyone offer advice about growing Belinda's Dream Rose bushes in a planting bed covered with gravel instead of organic mulch? Three bushes were planted 2 years ago in a planting bed that is not raised, although there is a slight mound at each rose bush.
There are two issues that I'd like input on:
1. From what I've read, rose bushes really thrive from having organic mulch around the base of the plant. Will the gravel have an adverse affect on the bushes? Is a perimeter of organic mulch around the base of the bushes necessary?
2. The planting bed is not raised, To add gravel, I would excavate about 6 inches around the existing mounds where the bushes are planted. I will probably need to add a french drain along one side of the planting bed to keep the area well drained, but I am not sure if this will do enough to keep the bushes dry.
I would appreciate any thoughts/advice, thanks!
location: Austin, TX
soil: predominantly clay