Using roses with other plants in the garden
The method of growing roses together in big groups often doesn’t do them justice. Disease can spread quickly, there are long periods without colour, and there's nothing to hide their ‘ugly legs’! A far more attractive approach is to mix them with herbaceous perennials to create layers of colour in the garden. Hardy geranium ‘Rozanne’ is made for growing with roses. It flowers from May until October and will sprawl underneath your roses to cover the ground. Bees love it, too.
Also try the upright perennial Sisyrinchium striatum, which produces unusual spikes of soft yellow flowers in summer above sword-shaped leaves and will gently spread itself through a border by seed in any but the heaviest soil.
As long as the soil isn’t heavy clay, you can plant low-growing lavenders such as Lavandula angustifolia ‘Rosea’ (pink) and ‘Hidcote’ (purple) around your roses to create a beautifully fragrant, bee-filled scene. Plant them on a mound and add a good handful of grit and compost to each hole when you plant. Trim them after flowering eache year to keep them bushy.