Rose Cuttings – November, 2007

Independence Display Garden

Many roses are useful garden plants, especially when combined with colorful companions like salvia, penstemons and other perennials. Some of the most evocative uses, though, may be created with the many ornamental grasses that have become available. This has never been more evident than in late fall, when both grasses and roses are at their flowering peak. Here’s what they can offer the gardener:

1. Unlike other perennials, grasses provide a distinctive texture that sets off the rose. The globular nature of the rose contrasts with the linear texture of grasses.

2. Grasses, like roses, come in a diverse range of colors that create many opportunities for beautiful combinations.

3. Many garden roses as well as grasses are extremely low-maintenance plants requiring little or no spraying and only yearly pruning. These low-maintenance roses used with ornamental grasses in a perennial border create the perfect carefree garden.
Here are some combinations that are especially showy.

Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’ (Purple Fountain Grass) 
The yellow flowers of roses seen in ‘Lafter’, ‘Graham Thomas’ or ‘Stephen F. Austin’ make a dramatic contrast to the purple foliage of this grass.

Cyperus alternifolius (Umbrella Plant) or Typha angustrifolia (Cattails)
The graceful cascading nature of the Swamp rose and her pink flowers would complement the upright growth habit of these grasses at water’s edge.
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’
This grass could be used with the shrubs ‘Carefree Beauty’ and ‘Belinda’s Dream’ or in front of a brightly colored climber like ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ or ‘Red Cascade’.

There’s no need for alarm if you find grass growing in a garden of roses; it may be there on purpose!

About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. Visit their Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses, and to order roses online, visit their Web site:

Posted by Neil Sperry
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