Proper spacing aka 'How many more can I fit in?'

zaphod42October 27, 2012

I'm placing OGRs along the south side of my garage and down along the edge of the driveway. I planted a Great Maiden's Blush this spring and a Hansa and am now looking to fill in between. I've already ordered Ispahan. I have 19 feet between the two. How far from the GMB should I plant Ispahan? How many other roses can I get in there? One? Two? I'm thinking GMB, Ispahan, open space, open space, Hansa. Recommendations for additional OGRS to fill in? Should I put Ispahan next to GMB or next to Hansa?

Also, I have two Hansa next to each other. Is 4' apart good distance?

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This is such a perfect rose growers question - "how many more can I fit in"! There's the well intentioned, "planned" spacing, in the beginning. Then years down the road, there's the - uh oh, I have no more room and I just bought X more roses, I wonder how many more I can fit in between the well planned ones! I think the answer to the second is different from the first!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 3:40PM
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My standard answer is never plant a rose on top of another rose. I know I should give a "do as I say not what I do" type answer, but unfortunately human nature being what it is; harmonyp's answer (to me) is a very accurate one.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 4:32PM
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catsrose(VA 6)

As Harmony said. Also, the less space you give them, the bigger they turn out to be. If it says 3X4 and you give it 3X4, it will end up 4X6 in your garden. The reverse is also true. If you give a 3X4 rose 5X7 space, it will die.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 5:26PM
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My figuring based on HMF puts Ispahan and GMB at a max circumference of 5' W. Five feet in between hypothetically would have them brushing each other if they hit their max. Should I scrunch to four feet because they might not reach their max in my zone? Five feet of space would leave me fourteen feet which I think could fit two additional roses, correct? Something along the lines of Felicite Parmentier or Queen of Denmark if I wanted to stick with Albas. Mme Plantier would probably not work as one of the two as I think it might be too big with another, but too small on its own. Thoughts?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 6:35PM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

Even in your climate I think the roses that are adapted to it such as the roses you name will in time become quite large, although it might take some time. I don't want to say more than that because California is a long way from Wisconsin. The roses you describe are all very pretty. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 6:59PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Lol, harmony hit the nail right on the head! We all start out planning the perfect spaces but then there's this one I want and that one I have to have and so on and pretty soon they're all crowded. I wouldn't worry about it though. It never seems to bother the roses. They happily grow in and around each other. We're the poor fools who have to find a way to get in there and prune them!

And catrose's observations are spot on too. Give a rose too little room and it will become a giant, too much room and it will dwindle away. Of course then you just need to threaten it with the shovel and they usually straighten up right away, lol.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 7:17PM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

Yep, ditto for me! I had a beautiful plan in my head a couple of years ago, and its just gotten out of hand (in a good way). I've somehow managed to have R. Rugosa Alba smack in the middle of, what has become, my modern roses area! Its WAY too big to move, so there it stays, slowing pushing out poor Hot Cocoa and Rainbow Sorbert :( Not to mention, I originally planned my rose bed to be only in one section of my yard, with about 20 roses, and I now have over 500!! The "small" rose bed along the back fence has wrapped itself around 3/4 of my fence (still 1/4 of the fenceline to fill...woohoo!!!!!).

Don't forget, in the spring when they have no leaves, it looks like you have more room than you actually have...take it from me! I some how ended up with what ended up being a 6ft tall Marianne (by Paul Barden), in front of a 3ft tall Rosenstadt Freising...Marianne was moved last week to her new home in an area better suited to her size.

As for your Hansa spacing, I think you'll be ok the way you have it set up. I have 3 mature Hansas on the side of my garage spaced about 4-5 feet apart and they have plenty of room. Its a great plant! Disease free, nice hips, good rebloom. I'm guessing in your zone, they'll stay smaller than they do here in 6b/7a; mine are about 5ft right now.

Happy planting!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 9:25PM
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They can always be moved if neighbors can't be good neighbors. I always seem to plant too close and then end up moving the "central" ones.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 10:19PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I am always doing this! Reading and reading and asking questions as to size. Then it is like my head goes blank when I go to plant them...

Or I put in plants that forgot to read how big they are supposed to be. Like Carding Mill that is supposed to be 3' wide...

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 11:20PM
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Your answer...

"If you give a 3X4 rose 5X7 space, it will die."

Surely that needs to be added to the "how do you count roses" list.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 12:18AM
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bart_2010(8/9 Italy)

I'm bookmarking this great thread and saving it...bart

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 5:16AM
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ilovemyroses(8 Dallas TX)

I am with Kippy, I spend hours of so called 'research' here...maybe it is just play! then when it goes to planting, I go blank! Or, sometimes I must give myself credit, the roses that are supposed to be giant (Queen of Sweden, I am talking to you!! Heard you were nice and tall and hedge-like?) turn out to be demure ... so far, year one, but still!! So, sometimes I think all the planning in the world is useless!! Roses should be classified in two sizes, huge, and not-huge. THAT would be info I could use!! :)

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 9:07AM
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As for hitting it on the head, right back at ya Seil. In one of my better planned areas (at first that is), I squeezed in twice as many over time in the spirit of "must have that rose, now where am I going to put it". They are definitely too close together - great big grandiflora's, some closer than 3' apart (and of course, little Charisma floribunda nested in the middle, which may be fortunate as she is mostly a diseased mess (potential room there soon!). The "too close" roses - well, they are doing FABULOUSLY. But you should see what I look like after I fight my way amongst them when pruning! I'm a bloody wreck (and not bloody in the brit usage of the term).

So - I think there is an answer nested in this question. How close you put them together depends on how much you like to prune, and how important it is for you to be able to prune without bleeding.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 1:12PM
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It's way more work if you crowd them. They will also be more vulnerable to disease. It's a constant temptation to plant more, more, more, but worth resisting if you can. How much do you like moving plants that have outgrown their spaces?

Just today I removed an established 'Baltimore Belle', which I liked only okay, to make room for 'Climbing Shot Silk', which I simply love. And I'm moving a shrub rose which isn't doing very well to the better space currently inhabited by my least favorite sage to make room on the front fence for 'Constance Spry'. And I have no idea where I am going to plant 'Secret Garden Musk Climber', a rose which requires a fair amount of real estate. It may live in its pot for quite some time until I come up with an idea.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 6:39PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Isphahan is only 5 ft if you keep it very well pruned. That's basically a manicured size.

Hansa will probably be OK at 5 ft centers, but they will intermingle. The reality is that those will be *bigger* up north, and should be sited accordingly.

I'd plant Isphahan next to Great Maiden's Blush, at least six feet away. If you plan on doing a lot of pruning - at least twice a year - they can go that close. If you plan on letting them grow more naturally, go for at least 10 ft.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 8:14PM
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ilovemyroses(8 Dallas TX)

I have to ask, are y'all constantly eyeing your yard, not only admiring your roses, but observing where you can expand beds, what trees need thinning as they are shading your roses, what 'lesser' plants can be altogether forfeited as without them, more and more roses could grow!! I have removed two crepe mrytles (don't like that black smooty growth and basically, that they are NOT roses) and am eyeing a yaupon...and a beautiful sloping corner of my grass with great sun that ONE day could be a rose bed!!).

Just today, I realized, that yes, I do want a pretty garden...other plants too, don't get me wrong, but massive plants (other than choice trees) that aren't roses?? I don't know, they seem to be disappearing!! What I realized, sorry for rambling, and possibly stealing the thread?? is that my garden is for me, and my husband, too, and he loves my joy in the roses. and, in that it is not finely landscaped with color at all times of the year...yada yada yada...I don't know, I can live with out that!?!! My goal is to enjoy as many roses as I want, and have an attractive, but, yes, rose oriented, garden and lawn area. And if I am known as the crazy rose lady on the corner...what of it!? I can handle that! There are worse things to be known as!! (sorry for rambling, just filled with joy at how pretty they are all looking on this beautiful fall day!!)

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 8:22PM
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catsrose(VA 6)

I am one of the several crazy rose ladies on this forum. Yes, I spent a great deal of time contemplating future beds. I justify my passion by inviting the garden clubs here every spring to tour the roses. I also invite my neighbors to help themselves to bouquets whenever they want. They are very polite about it, but my offer makes them happy. Several of my neighbors have had baby, graduation and wedding photos taken among my roses.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 11:29PM
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Mad_gallica, thanks for the info. I'm a pruner by nature, so I think I lean toward 6 ft space in-between. I may pad it a bit, but think that I'll keep it pruned enough to bring it in from 10'. I like the look where roses intermingle a bit, I just want to keep them from crowding each other. Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 8:38AM
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Ilovemyroses - there is almost nothing better than the experience of doing a heavy tree trimming, and noticing that there are spots that you thought were too shady that have suddenly been uncovered and are whispering "plant rose here ... plant rose here". I hear those little words all the time!. Course, at nurseries roses also talk to me ... saying "b u y m e e e". I can here their little whispery high pitched voices. ..... ooooo, buuuuyyy meeeee, buuuyyy meeeee...

I'm past the forfeitting stage, every non-rose plant that was taking up a prime rose spot that could be moved has been moved. I have my little garden I call "the dump" which has the remnants of many of the irises, dahlias, misc. bulbs, and daylilies I decided to move to make room for roses. And "the dump" is a darned pretty place now.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 10:06AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

Harmony, as I was picking just a few of the far too many Fuyu persimmons off the THREE trees by the house...I decided one more of those trees are going! And them hmm what a perfect spot for a climbing rose! After all, who needs that many persimmons and after all the pear needs more light right. :)

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 11:45AM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

Whoever said that Carding Mill would be 3 feet wide must be living in northern Canada! I didn't have mine that long (wrong color) but it was getting to be double that at an early age. I've underestimated the size of most of my roses and the ones in my "tea rose row" are already hugging each other desperately. It will only get worse but there isn't a single one I could bear to get rid of and there's no more space. Of course two more are coming in the spring, roses imported from France by Vintage Gardens. People who love roses, especially the old ones that mostly tend to be on the large side, are always going to have overcrowding. If it's the worst problem we're ever going to have we're pretty lucky!

ilovemyroses, your last sentence so resonated with me. That's what it's all about, that feeling of joy when you look at your beautiful garden filled with roses.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 12:31PM
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Please don't judge me for asking such a simplistic question...but every time I plant a rose, I wonder about the spacing...if a rose supposed to grow to be 3 feet wide, for example, do you have to add 1 1/2 feet to half the width of the next rose you're putting in to get the proper spacing? Example: if #1 grows to 3 feet wide, and #2 grows to 4 feet wide, then allow 3 1/2 feet between them? Measure from the main shaft of one rose to the main shaft of the other rose?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 11:20PM
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Vickysgarden - I don't think it is a simplistic question. It was the core of my main inquiry. Your math seems correct to me and is the same formula I was working with in determining my numbers. I think it comes down to knowing that the sizes of the roses you are planting are correct for your zone. Also, math and rose gardening may not be compatible systems.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 9:13AM
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seil zone 6b MI

The problem with all this planning is that roses can't read and don't do the math. Even knowing what a rose is supposed to do in your zone won't guarantee that it will be that size in your garden. Every single hole you dig will be it's own micro-climate and will effect a roses growth habit. My Reine des Violettes is enormous! An 8 or 9 foot tall and 5 foot wide wall of canes. My friend who lives about a mile down the road can't get his to grow taller then about 4 ft.

Gardens are not static but constantly changing and evolving. No matter how much you plan ahead you'll end up making changes down the road. That's what keeps it interesting and part of the fun for me!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 10:33AM
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landlady(USDA 8 or 9)

I was thinking of this thread a few minutes ago when I was sitting on the ground pulling the blasted johnny jump-ups and spanish poppies out from between and under some roses. Sitting on a worn out old cushion I could reach the understories of four roses at once: St. Cecilia, Hot Cocoa, Anneke Doorenbos and the Alexander Rose.

I'm going to go back out and empty the trug, move the pillow a few feet and do Lilac Dawn, Tamora and Rachel Bowes Lyons in the next sitting...

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 4:56PM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Landlady, sounds like Heaven. And Ilovemyroses: I have a dump that is looking pretty good too! Maybe we should add some roses to the dump?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 6:38PM
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I wish I could - but my dump has too much shade!!! My philosophy for non roses is - if it doesn't live, oh well. For roses it is - must live, must have good home!

I think the dump plants know that and strive. The roses are all primadonnas. (You know you're in a strange place when you start attributing volition to your plants).

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 6:50PM
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