What is your favorite style of rose garden?

jacqueline9CAFebruary 28, 2009

I just got the American Rose magazine for March/April. There are 2 articles in it, describing 2 different rose gardens, that made me think about how "rose gardens" can be so different. Of course, everyone's taste is different, and there is no "right" way, but I think the subject is interesting.

On page 33 of the magazine it describes the rose garden at the Lewis Ginte Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA. The pictures show acres of roses laid out in a bedding style, all in straight or curved rows, all the same height at about 2 1/2 -3 feet tall, massed by color, with wide paths in between the beds. The only complaint I have with the article is that it says that the garden started with only old fashioned roses, which, quote: "for the most part, bloom only once in the spring." ARGGH! This canard is so annoying. I found it on my local rose society web site too - surely in Richmond, VA (as in No CA) they could grow chinas, teas, noisettes & hybrid musks? But I digress..

On page 60 of the magazine starts an article on "Red Rose Ridge", a huge private garden in Mendocino county in No CAL. They have acres of old roses -- masses of old teas growing to their natural form in large mounds covering a hillside, romantic paths among and overarched by roses, with lots of little secluded garden rooms centered on various statuary, "windows" out of the garden framed by roses opening out to beautiful vistas of the hills...etc. It is breathtakingly beautiful. To my personal taste, this garden struck me as an example of the perfect rose garden. Not possible for most of us, of course, but the style can be snuck into our gardens in little spaces - it is amazing what you can achieve letting roses grow up to their natural height on a tree or house, or to their natural size in as a gorgeous mound - even if you can only fit in one in a secluded corner of the garden.

I realize that lots of people have completely different or opposite opinions of what a rose garden should look like - which makes life & gardening more interesting! What is your favorite style?


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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Jackie, I can't tell from your comments whether or not you realize that "Mendocino Rose" of Red Rose Ridge is a regular poster on this forum. I just love it when she or someone who visited her posts pics of her gorgeous gardens.

My garden can't even begin to compete with hers, but I definitely prefer her style to the more formal beds you described above. I don't know that my gardens have a "style" per se, but I like irregular shaped beds and windy paths. And a lot of contrast in heights and shapes. And I like other kinds of plants mixed in for greater variety. On the other hand, I will periodically repeat a rose or color at intervals to kinda tie things together, and some of the bed feature more of one color combination while another bed is based on a different set of colors. I guess I would call my style "planned casualness," for lack of a better term--if that makes any sense.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 5:45PM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

Jacqueline, as Kate said you can tell what kind of garden is my favorite. But that said I really feel like I can appreciate many kinds of gardens. The key is in the love and personality of the gardener that is invested in the garden. My dear friend Paula(Rosefolly)wrote the article. She loves my garden but her own garden is a little different, more orderly like her personality. There is nothing more important than your own self in the garden. I am pleased that you liked my garden. I haven't received the magazine yet. You can imagine that I am waiting anxiously!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 7:34PM
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gnabonnand(Zone 8 Texas)

To me, there are two GardenWeb regulars that have the perfect gardens with roses in them. Pam's in California and Kaye's in Arkansas. Pam's looks like California paradise. Those vista views you can see in the background in photo's of her garden make it even more amazing. The natural form the plants are allowed to take is so beautiful. And Kaye's garden shows off those beautiful natural Arkansas stones with roses that also perform very well in my own garden. I'm familiar with that part of her state and it's a very special place to me. They both have lots of land, and have done amazing things with it on a very large scale.

In short, they both utilized the unique natural beauty of their locations and masterfully incorporated roses into the mix.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 11:01PM
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I love Pam's garden (Red Rose Ridge). It's such an inspiration! When Pam first posted a link to her garden here on this board 2? years ago, I was drooling over those lovely rose photos.

I also love Maurizio's garden in Sardinia Italy. I love his choice of plants in his garden and the way he mixed roses, perennials and grasses together.

Maurizio (Morrisnoor) has his own rose forum, and it's ashame that I cannot read Italian!! I have to use an Italian dictionary in order to decipher each word, which can take ages. :-)

It's unfortunate that I have a really small garden, so the choice of plants is really important. I'm still experimenting with plants to see if they look good - if they don't, I will pull them out and try new ones.

There's another thread posted by linrose, "What is your vision when you garden with roses" that you might enjoy reading too.

Cheers, Jimmy

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 12:44AM
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catsrose(VA 6)

I'm the Red Rose Ridge type--lots paths, nooks, ambling-rambling, discoveries. I get bored with the exhibition bed style and while I'm always very impressed by those who can maintain formal gardens, I have to wonder what they do with themselves when it's all finished. For me, the joy in gardening is its continual evolution. Not to mention, there is always another plant, especially roses, that I can't live without. I wouldn't mind incorporating a formal bit into a larger scheme, tho, just for interest's sake.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 9:06AM
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greybird(z7 TX)

theoldrosarian.com. This garden is awesome.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 10:47AM
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Thanks to everyone for your responses, and a huge thanks to Pam for creating such an amazing garden, and to Paula for getting that lovely article into the ARS magazine. It has given me more hope about the ARS - there was a time when an article about that type of rose garden would not have been allowed to "darken their door" - they have really made huge strides in the last few years -


    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 2:26PM
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It's hard to imagine that a magazine devoted to roses wouldn't delight in featuring a garden like Pam's. I like the romantic, mysterious, enchanting , wild and gloriously abundant look myself, especially when it is in a lovely setting. I like a garden with many sorts of plants. But I have also found some formal gardens lovely with their precise edging, symetry, and carefully sheared evergreens.
I agree that the garden reflects the gardener, and its uniqueness is always interesting. A peaceful garden which is a respite from our competitive world is ideal to me.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 6:00PM
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I think formal rose gardens are boring. From the descriptions I think I would like Pam's and Kaye's gardens. My own garden I might describe as (very) loosely formal in broad outline, but abundant and spontaneous within that basic framework. Does that describe me? Perhaps it does.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 3:01AM
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I can't decide on just one style. I have a small formal boxedged garden on the lawn near the house with lowgrowing polys and floribundas. Beyond this garden are the wilder areas with tall shrub roses among fruit trees and a woodland with species roses. My garden is only half an acre in a rather dull suburban setting but I've tried to create a few longer vistas with shade alternating with open areas, as close to garden rooms as I can make it with my limited space. There is no room for an enclosed secret garden but there are at least three secret nooks for the grandchildren to hide in.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 7:53AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I get depressed by the public ones you see around here that are a big square of unmulched dirt with hybrid teas planted in rows, surrounded by a sea of grass. At least mulch them to preserve soil moisture. Some alyssum to attract beneficials. A short hedge of boxwood to hide the bases. Just a little more effort would make something like that look soooooo much better.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 12:01PM
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carolfm(z7upstate SC)

Opulent, well maintained, lots of different plants mixed with the roses, water features are nice, paths that lead to hidden pockets of the garden, basically Pam's garden, and Jon's garden are what I love and strive for in my postage stamp sized garden. I like lots of different types of gardens though and enjoy visiting them. I always come away with different ideas for my own garden. There is always something beautiful and unique in most every garden.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 12:28PM
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I love almost all rose gardens. The book pictured "Beautiful American Rose Gardens" is an inspiration source (from amazon used sellers), it has all styles of gardens and most have OGR's. Wonderful photographs of the gardens. Only one garden had hybrid teas exclusively.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 2:08PM
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I like a mixed use garden shrubs roses annuals and perrenials. I also can appreciate the Rose Museums which display and preserve great roses. This is what I grew up with as a model for a rose garden The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden in The Bronx

Brooklyns Cranford Rose Garden

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 8:38PM
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