Planting roses in a mixed border is one of the easiest ways of enjoying roses in your garden. Combine shrub roses, other shrubs, perennials and annuals to create a tapestry of different colors and textures.


Planning a mixed border

thinking about color

The color of the roses and accompanying plants in a mixed border is a matter of personal taste, but there are a few simple guidelines you can follow. Decide if you want to stick to a narrow color scheme of if you would like to go for something more eclectic. Larger spaces absorb more colors, where as smaller gardens benefit from fewer colors. 

When mixing colors it is important to plant the same plant in groups of 2 of 3 so that each color covers enough space to make an impact.

One Color

Blend both light and mid pink in a mixed border for a romantic effect. Alternatively, simple white flowers allied with green foliage creates a serene feel.

Two or More Colors

For a calm classic mixed border, punctuate whites and creams with deep purples or reds. For something more uplifting, combine orange shades with blues and light purples. The more colors you combine together; the more energetic a feel you will create, especially if it includes a number of stronger shades like reds, yellows and purples.

The Color of Foliage

The color of foliage is also worth considering when planning a mixed border. Choose both darker and lighter greens, as well as red-toned foliage, to add both depth and color, or grey-leaved cotton lavender and artemisia to act as a natural backdrop to vivid colors.

Combine with Purple

Plants with purple or blue flowers, such as Salvia and catmint, work especially well in mixed borders as there are not really any roses in this color group. See our recommendations for Purple Partnering Plants.


accompanying plants for a mixed border

In a mixed border, combine shrub roses, other shrubs, perennials and annuals to create a tapestry of different colors and textures. Avoid over crowding beds and borders and choosing vigorous companion plants, which will create too much competition with the roses.

Height Variation

Create height variation in a mixed border by planting taller shrub roses and companion plants towards the back of the bed. Towards the front, place shorter, preferably fragrant roses and accompanying plants.

Low-growing at the Front

Blend both light and mid pink in a mixed border for a romantic effect. Alternativley, simple white flowers allied with green foliage creates a serene feel.

Tall Punctuating Plants

Punctuate the middle of the border with tall flowering annuals or perennials, such as foxgloves, alliums, verbascums and delphiniums.

Edge with Box

As a finishing touch, edge mixed beds and borders with a low box hedge. It will also hide any bare stems.



creating year round interest in a mixed border

Repeat flowering roses have a long flowering season but it's still worth planning your mixed border so that other plants can provide interest and fill the space when your roses are dormant.

Winter and Early Spring

In winter and early spring, small evergreen shrubs and perennials are vital for adding color with foliage. Hellebores, pulmonarias and primulas all work well. You can also incorporate bulbs, such as snowdrops, crocuses and dwarf daffodils. 

Late Spring

For late spring color in a mixed border, before the roses come into full bloom, try tulips, aquilegia, vibernum and dicentras.


Fall

From early fall until the first frosts, use sedums, salvias, verbenas and compact forms of bedding dahlias to inject color. 

English Roses are some of the best-loved, high-performance flowers in the garden, so they are perfect for growing in the mixed border. When David Austin set out to breed the English Roses, one of his guiding principles was that his new roses should have the natural, shrubby growth that is typical of their ancestors the Old Roses. This graceful, bushy habit makes them perfect for the mixed border. Unlike most Old Roses, English Roses have the great advantage of repeat flowering in flushes, providing color and interest in the border from June through to the first frosts.


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purple partnering plants

Purple plants are a particularly good choice for blending with roses within a mixed border. Ranging from soft hues to right tones, there is a shade of purple to complement any color rose.

planting distances

For a successful garden, getting planting distances right is important. Plant shrub roses too closely together and the border becomes overcrowded.

how to plant a 2-Quart potted shrub rose

By following these simple steps, you will ensure your 2-Quart potted shrub rose gets off to the best possible start.

climbers on walls

By training a fabulous, fragrant climbing or rambling rose up a wall or or fence, you can covert a dull, even unsightly area into one of the most stuffing features in your garden.