Roses have many uses and can be used in a variety of different ways to add interest and excitement to your garden. Within this section we look at a few creative ideas which may hopefully inspire you to take rose growing to a new level.
MAKE YOUR OWN ROSE HIP TEA
Did you know that you can actually make your own rose hip tea?
The process is actually very easy and fun to try, plus it’s a great source of vitamin C!
During the Second World War, at a time when oranges and other foods high in vitamin C were hard to acquire, schoolchildren were actually given rose hip syrup to keep them healthy. This was something that Peter Beales used to remember vividly telling stories about how he used to collect rose hips from the hedgerows as a boy.
To make tea for two you will need 7 large ripe rose hips with the stems removed. Hips from the Rugosa family are the best for this. Just make sure you get your rose hips from a source where you know they haven’t been heavily sprayed with chemicals. You will also need 480ml (16fl oz) of water.
Chop the rose hips coarsely and put into a teapot, including the seeds.
Next boil the water and pour over the chopped rose hips.
Leave for 10 minutes, then simply strain and serve.
The fresh flowers of several varieties can also be used to make rosewater and dried petals can be ground up and used in spice mixes.
HAVE A GO AT GROWING ROSES IN HANGING BASKETS
Most roses will happily grow in a pot, provided that the pot is big enough and that they are watered regularly. Something that a lot of people don’t realise though, is that some roses can even be grown quite easily in hanging baskets.
If you are thinking of growing roses in hanging baskets, then Procumbent (ground cover roses) are best. This is because their growth habit is best suited to this environment, growing wider than they do tall as the roses mature the blooms will cascade over the top of your hanging basket. We would recommend using varieties like the Flower Carpet range; they are incredibly healthy and produce masses of bright, colourful flowers right through the season. If planting roses in hanging baskets then the most important thing to remember is to not let them dry out. This means watering them daily. When planting roses in this way always use bare root plants, a soil-based compost and a slow-release fertiliser to feed the plants throughout the season. Another top tip is to regularly feed the roses with Tomorite during the flowering season as this will help to produce more and more sumptuous blooms.
GROW CLIMBING ROSES AND CLEMATIS TOGETHER
Clematis are perfect companion plants for roses and can be used creatively to enhance the beauty of your roses through the use of either contrasting or complementing colours. Clematis are also tremendously useful for extending the flowering season.
TRAIN RAMBLING ROSES DOWN STEPS
Rambling roses, with their pliable stems, are perfect for training in a variety of imaginative ways. At Pashley Manor Gardens in East Sussex ‘The Garland’ has been trained to flow down the wall next to a flight of steps, creating a fantastic display of cascading flowers every summer.
Photos credited to Pashley Manor Gardens.
GROW ROSES IN YOUR CONSERVATORY OR SUMMERHOUSE
Although generally speaking roses are very hardy plants, a few varieties require some winter protection and are better suited to warmer climates. These slightly more tender varieties are ideal for enjoying in a conservatory or summerhouse. Growing certain roses under glass in this way not only adds greater enjoyment to a conservatory but also enhances the fragrance of the roses creating an idyllic space to relax.
PEG DOWN CLIMBING ROSES TO FORM A MOUND OF FLOWERS
If you have a large area and want to try something a little bit different, it is possible to peg down the branches of climbing roses to create a mound of flowers. To achieve this you will need to evenly fan out the branches and peg them down. This is easiest to do in the winter months. We have used ‘Sir Paul Smith’ as an example.
GROW ROSES UP INTO TREES
Ramblers, Scramblers and Climbers can be used very effectively to grow into trees. This works particularly well with trees that produce masses of blossom in the spring. The roses will then flower around mid-summer. The smaller flowers of rambling roses are particularly effective, as they look very natural flowering amongst the branches of the tree and therefore extends its period of interest within your garden. Alternatively, you may prefer to use climbing roses with bold contrasting colours to create more of a statement or to fit your gardens planting style and colour palette. Clematis also work very well growing into trees.
GROW A WILDLIFE FRIENDLY HEDGE
Roses can make a great alternative hedging plant, which not only offers attractive flowers but can be great for wildlife too! Several species roses, such as Rosa virginiana, make ideal hedges. They are easy to care for and their open single flowers are perfect for pollinators. Once they have finished flowering many will then produce masses of hips in the autumn that are a nutritious food source for birds. Rose hedges also provide a safe place for many birds to nest in. Other great roses for hedges include several Rugosa varieties that produce clusters of highly fragrant flowers and large hips.