Don’t like the idea of a bare garden after the roses have been pruned? Bring colour into your winter rose garden with winter and spring flowering annuals. They bridge the gap between pruning and the first flush in October.
The least invasive way to introduce annuals is to make a border in front of the roses. This can be done by filling in the gap between the edge of the lawn and the roses.
If you are not sure, note the drip line of the rose (the outer extent of its growth before pruning) and only plant beyond the drip line. Dig in plenty of compost so that there is no competition for nutrients.
Choose low growing annuals that don’t have invasive roots. Good choices are alyssum, diascia, dwarf snapdragons, lobelia, pansies, grandiflora petunias, and violas.
Poppies send up tall flower heads but if planted well away from the roses will not interfere with them.
Other cool-season plants that can be planted out are tall snapdragons, delphinium, stocks, and campanula. Snails love these plants so be ready to put down snail bait.
Planting of winter annuals between the roses can start in June as the roses become dormant. Even after pruning in July is a good time to plant, when the soil has been enriched and aerated. When pruning, remember to keep the flower producing frame above the other plants.
Feed spring and winter flowers with a liquid feed once a month. Alternate Nitrosol or Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger with Multifeed Classic or Flower Grow. This provides a balance of nutrients that encourage more flowers.
Deadhead regularly so that the plants keep on flowering and don’t put their energy into producing seed.
Cut back alyssum and lobelia when it goes over and it will flower again.
Always enrich and renew the soil before planting annuals. Don’t plant the same annuals in the same place season after season as they don’t thrive.