Garden Spaces: Plant an Herb and Rose Garden

A hardy rose surrounded by herbs in the garden is like a queen with adoring subjects. But its herbal companions play a strong supporting role in the drama and beauty that unfold in the garden.

| February/March 2010

  • Click on the IMAGE Gallery for the planting key.
    Illustrations by Gayle Ford
  • Click on the IMAGE Gallery for the planting key.

• Design Plans: Herb and Rose Garden 

A hardy rose surrounded by herbs in the garden is like a queen with adoring subjects. The rose will stand tall in its glory, spread its perfume through the air and reign supreme over its space. But its herbal companions play a strong supporting role in the drama and beauty that unfold in the garden.

The rose garden shown here is designed to capture and concentrate these exquisite but fleeting fragrances and to provide a seat where a garden visitor experiences the show, surrounded by enough beauty, color and scent to be transported to a place far beyond the cares and concerns of daily life. The sense of enclosure (by making the garden horseshoe-shaped or by using existing walls and fences to make it seem like a courtyard) adds to its appeal in a practical way—by blending and concentrating the scents of roses and other herbs and encouraging the gardener to relax and stay awhile.

The rose belongs in the herb garden; it has a distinguished history of usefulness in the garden, in perfumery, in the bath and even in the kitchen. Roses were once thought of as finicky, demanding garden plants (which can be true of some modern hybrid tea roses bred for specific colors or qualities), but more and more gardeners know better than to shy away from glorious roses. Roses include many outstanding performers that share other herbs’ tendency toward carefree drought tolerance and pest resistance. Most roses can tolerate full, blazing sun from dawn to dusk, even in my home state of Texas.



Planting and Propagating

The easiest way to get started is to find a reputable garden center or a good mail-order source. With hundreds, even thousands, of roses to choose from, this article’s list can only be considered a few personal favorites that have performed well for me.

Another way to start or expand your rose garden (for those with time and patience) is to propagate your own rosebushes from stem cuttings. This is especially useful when a friend gives you a cutting of a beautiful, healthy rose. Here’s how I do it:



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