Roses and what to put with them – two rose gardens at RHS Wisley and some delicious complimentary planting

IMG_0925IMG_0923IMG_0929Hot Chocolate, in the Jubilee Rose Garden at RHS Wisley. I’ve seen this paired up with dark spiky salvias to great effect – just thinking about it, how about Amistad in the background. How sumptuous would that be?

The Jubilee Rose garden, with central terrace and beds radiating outwards between grass paths, is a traditional rose garden in that it is pretty much just roses with no companion planting at all. A mix of mostly modern roses, including a goodly selection from David Austin, this means there is colour for much of the summer, though some of these colours are a little brash. Hot Chocolate, one of those novelty roses, is growing on me and I would love to use it sometime, especially with something in deep indigo.

Belle Epoque also caught my eye…

IMG_0917IMG_0933Rhapsody in Blue is a perennial favourite of mine, with rich colouring and streaks of white –

IMG_0934And a few others that caught my eye, I confess really to be looking at the companion planting, in the Bowes-Lyon rose garden, which is bold, impressive, complimentary and holds the garden together. The roses were the least of the planting, this week at least.

Great swathes of Ligularia, Echinacea, Geranium, Heleniums, Hemerocallis, fountains of Stipa gigantea and Agapanthus – all magnificent.

IMG_1024IMG_1030IMG_1021IMG_1041IMG_1042IMG_1057IMG_1060IMG_1061Aconitum Spark’s Variety and Monarda Squaw – and below, Russian Sage, Perovskia Little Spire

IMG_1065IMG_1070IMG_1075and a very elegant Agapanthus Windsor Grey

IMG_1092IMG_1098Agapanthus Taw Valley

In the Trial Fields, dozens of varieties of Agapanthus are laid out in two long double rows and I spent a couple of hours with them on Friday, so once again I might be getting ahead of myself, including them here, but they are an intrinsic part of the complimentary planting for these roses – an antidote to the rounded hummocky-domes of the shrub roses (sheep, they have been likened to, in the border), as well as the obvious colour contrast of the blues.

Last but not least…

IMG_0981IMG_0985Verbena bonariensis coupled with a white-striped Japanese Hakone Grass, on the lower slope of the site, works particularly well as a calm space before the riot of colour in the gardens above. The grass is a little bleached (it should really have more shade) but it deserves a special mention I think.

The Russian Sage (see the three pictures) is a striking blue, there’s electricity in there and it provides an equally strong contrast to the lush green of the lawns and shrubbery and is used in big blocks (come to think of it, all of the planting is bold here in the Bowes-Lyon garden, roses and non-roses alike). Motto – Be Bold!

I’m very fond of these gardens, the sweep of the beds, pools of grass, blocks of planting for roses and everything else, the mature trees (Cornus kouza, many), broad wide paved avenues, and a view down the sloping site to the House and landscape beyond.

And moving on now to the Glasshouse Borders – coming next….



4 thoughts on “Roses and what to put with them – two rose gardens at RHS Wisley and some delicious complimentary planting

    1. I know there is a rose called Cocoa (or Cocoa somethingorother) – what else should there be – some of the Sedums, Heucheras – Physocarpus too have chocolately shades, a Coleus I planted this year, Cosmos atrosanguineus of course, Akebia quintata (the chocolate vine), Chocolate Mint (smells just like After Eight’s), got me thinking now! What a lovely idea for a garden!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.