Every August in the Central Valley, I find myself wondering why I have so many roses. There is no question that roses are the epitome of the cottage garden, but without her supporting characters: evergreens, perennials and annuals they will not a summer garden make.
One of my favorite ways to use roses is in mixed borders. Be sure to surround them with perennials such as daylilies, salvia, lantana and catmint just to name a few.
Evergreens like Sunshine privet, Lomandra, loropetalum and abelia will add color and texture all year long. They are an integral part of the landscape, not be overlooked!
By the end of August through mid September, a good rule of thumb is to cut your roses back by 1/3 to 1/2 in size. Many are sunburned and leggy. This will encourage new growth and ready the rose for better bloom production when cooler weather arrives.
When cooler temperatures return, begin feeding with an organic rose food every 4 weeks through November, at which point your roses will be ready for dormancy in the winter. Organic fertilizers are completely available to the plant and they actually improve the texture of the soil over time.
Happy roses = Happy fall!