rookie question about rose companions
I'm hoping you can help me choose some perennials to mix in with some roses I've just planted. Currently the bed has strawberry plants in the front, with bee balm and butterfly blue delphiniums in the rear. I plan to dig the bee balm out so it doesn't compete with the roses, and the delphiniums didn't take very well this season.
The depth of the bed is about six feet at its widest points, and I might be able to widen it. It is on the west side of the house, so it gets full, hot sun. The soil is alkaline clay, amended with manure, compost, and small amounts of coffee grounds. The neighborhood gets terrible powdery mildew, and I only spray diluted milk or whey to keep it somewhat controlled. Anything I plant has to be mildew resistant.
The roses are Brother Cadfael and Crown Princess Margarita climbing roses, so pink and apricot/yellow tones. They are in front of the pillars, and tiny right now (their first season).
I have read that geranium rozanne does quite well with roses, and I have a few in another bed that I can mix in behind the strawberries. What I want is something taller and brighter for the back of the bed, possibly in a deep pink or light red. Of course, something with a very long bloom period would be ideal! However, I am open to any and all suggestions for the space. I am a rookie, and I haven't had this garden for long. I'm still getting used to it.