Nothing But Roses

'Judy Garland' floribunda rose

‘Judy Garland’ floribunda rose

In the Valley, May is the month when garden flowers look their best.
Roses never look more spectacular, having reached the peak of their first bloom cycle, which is always the heaviest of the year. Annuals planted in late winter or early spring have filled out nicely by now and the experienced gardener is already concerned about keeping them looking good; the moment annuals look their most glorious is often the same moment that they go into decline.
Many perennials also look their best in spring, having at last overcome winter doldrums. Lengthening days mean it is their time, once again, to burst into bloom.
Which arrangements of garden flowers are the prettiest?
Longevity of bloom plays an increasingly prominent role. It is almost as though durability, driven by economic and ecological concerns, has become synonymous with beauty.
Three kinds of roses have become increasingly noticeable in long- blooming garden beds: floribunda, miniature and ground-cover roses. These three types of roses not only bloom heavily, but many of their varieties are disease-resistant as well. Except for aphids – which visit nearly all roses in the spring, do little damage and reliably disappear with summer heat – insect pests also will not be typically found on these roses.
A flower bed of nothing but ever-blooming roses is easily enough achieved with floribundas, which grow up to about 5 feet tall, in back; and miniature and/or ground-cover roses, which do not exceed 2 feet in height, in front. Because of their heavy blooming habit, they will need a constant fertilizer feed, which means, ideally, application of slow-release fertilizer in the spring and fall with supplementary application of fast-acting fertilizer every four to six weeks.
For a simple two-plant flower combination, white “Iceberg,” which is the most popular floribunda rose, may be successfully combined with either bluish purple statice (Limonium perezii) or velvety purple Mexican sage (Salvia leucantha). Statice is limited by its sensitivity to cold, self- sowing in coastal locations but freezing in the Santa Clarita Valley if it is not given a somewhat sheltered exposure.

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