What companions would you place here?


I am an intermittent poster on these wonderful boards, I have periods when I don't get a chance to post and then come back. I once said I will change my name when I finally see some success, with several blooms at the same time one one plant.

This Spring, I think I finally got it.

I have been growing roses for 4 years and maybe I can say this was the first year where I was able to see more pretty blooms concomitantly on one plant, in the Spring.

Summers, unfortunately, don't work.

I can't keep up with the spraying and watering - so the defoliation is heavy and blooms minimal to pitiful.

But here's roughly where I was this Spring:

Good as Gold

Olivia Rose, Plum Perfect, Easy Does it

Love Song and Good as Gold

I called it a success.

Those in pots did nice too and I added Plum Perfect and Dee-lish later.

But that's ONLY in the Spring. Summer - might as well not have them.

Julia Child does little for me. Dick Clark is a garish color.

I decided not to add any more roses this year, after having added 5 Coral Drifts on the border.

Now I realized I need some companion plants in the rose bed.

The roses are a bit closer to a tree than they should be, but it is what it is.

What companion plants would you add around Coral Drifts and then, further to the right, these roses:

Good as Gold

Julia Child

Dick Clark

Love Song

I will add some pictures below.

Thank you so much!

Comments (20)

  • Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA
    Original Author
    28 days ago

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  • Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA
    Original Author
    28 days ago

    A few more successes from Spring, right now, it's desolation. :)

  • Aaron Rosarian Zone 5b
    28 days ago

    I'm a big fan of clematis, and there are beautiful ones that will complement any color scheme. I second the idea of catmint, but I'd encourage a more constrained variety as they can get very bouffant and floppy! I love russian sage with roses, lavender is delightful with them also, and I'm very taken with some anemones--the Japanese Anemone "Wild Swan" I think is breathtaking. You could also do some annuals--I love planting just regular blue flax seed you can find at the store, in succession so you'll have a cascade of blooms.

    Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA thanked Aaron Rosarian Zone 5b
  • Kristine LeGault 8a pnw
    28 days ago
    last modified: 28 days ago

    Severe, it is so good to see you posting. You had some wonderful success and beautiful blooms to show for it.

    We all had crazy weather, hot as a dickens for some of us and too much rain for others. Dont be discouraged because we can only do what we can and cross our fingers for the rest.

    I an a fan of Rose of Sharon, salvia, and there are a ton of variety of those.

    I have my first Nepeta this year and love it

    I like alysum for my ground cover. Even some tall grasses are cool but they can tend to take over.

    Zinnias are a bright easy pop of color and there are sizes from teensy to giants. Use layers and you can really fill it in.

    So good to see you, dont stay away so long. We missed you

    Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA thanked Kristine LeGault 8a pnw
  • Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA
    Original Author
    27 days ago

    Thank you for everyone's suggestions and your kind words, Kristine!

    For now, I bought some asters and a couple of coneflowers - they had some amazing colors at the nursery.

    I have some zinnias in a raised bed in the back but I can't say they make front yard flowers for me. Leaves all get dry and powdery mildey, flowers are small. It's a cut flower when you have a good summer.

    This bed is visible from the front.

    I am thinking about Catmint but they didn't have any at the nursery.

    I'd also like to put something right on the border in front of the Coral Drifts but it would have to be something very low, like ground cover. I wanted to do the Blue Star Creeper but then I read some negatives about it and now I still don't know what that would be.

    Sweet Alyssum sounds like a nice idea, it looks so nice in pics, but I tried it once with a rose in a large pot, and the foliage grew out of control with minimum flowers. I had a huge amount of fluffly leaves.

    I also planted one lavender plant in that rose bed and it stayed very, very small.

    Lavender must be the slowest grower out there.

    I also love the blue flax seed suggestion, I never heard of them.

    For now I will put the asters and coneflowers in the back ...and some daylilies, I guess, when I can make myself divide the clumps I have in a different spot.

    Thank you again!

  • oursteelers 8B PNW
    27 days ago

    Severe, I am an extremely lazy gardener in a lot of ways. One being that sowing seeds in winter is a pita because the kids and cats always knock them over or when i go to plant them outside they die. So this year I waited until the danger of frost had passed, bought a couple packets of alyssum seeds and sprinkled them around my flagstones.

    That was it. Didn’t bury them or anything. They were watered either by rain or when I watered the roses that are near them.

    They just took off. SO EASY.

    I wish I had tried it before. Next year I’m going to get like 10 packets and sprinkle them everywhere.

    Perhaps the lack of flowers was a fluke and Maybe you could try alyssum again.

  • joeywyomingz4b
    27 days ago

    Your garden is beautiful @Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA! My favorite companions for roses are delphiniums, English lavender, russian sage, coreopsis, and pansies. I love the combination of the textures and they seem to balance their bloom cycles so that something is always going gangbusters.

    Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA thanked joeywyomingz4b
  • Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA
    Original Author
    27 days ago
    last modified: 27 days ago

    @oursteelers 8B PNW, I think I will. I very much love the alyssum look and how easily they seem to take. I too hope that was a fluke, maybe they got the wrong fertilizer, too much nitrogen that gave them lots of leaves and no flowers? We'll never know. But I will try them again next Spring, just sprinkling on the ground.

    I am always looking for easy solutions with gardening because my indoor and outdoor plats multiplied, but my time and resources did not.


  • Sunny Mississippi 8a
    27 days ago

    Severe i feel the same about zinnias mine are in the back😂. i have dwarf lantana under my drifts. I planted Bandana and Gem this year. Bandana i have trimmed once with a hedge trimmer to shape it. Gem has stayed tiny. Im hoping it will come back next spring after winter dieback as some of my others.

    I plan to have the drifts taller next year. These are still young plants. I have a varigated yellow white lantana by my peach drifts.

    By Julia Child I have a pink purple varigated lantana on one side and peach drifts on the other. next year i will have blue purple irises, salvias, and alliums by Julia.

    Right now the lantana is between flushes. its not too water greedy, is actually drought tolerant, and keeps the weeds down. Plus i try to keep the pollinators in mind.

    Here is a peek of the purple pink by the yellow Julia. This lantana is also between flushes.

  • Aaron Rosarian Zone 5b
    27 days ago

    Also I wanted to recommend calamint--it's similar to catmint but has very light, tiny periwinkle blue flowers, similar in color to wild aster. It's got a delightful mint fragrance and giant delicate sprays--ethereal!

    Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA thanked Aaron Rosarian Zone 5b
  • sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)
    27 days ago

    I think blue and white flowers would go good with golden yellow..maybe a few dabs of yellow within the white. Pick stuff that does well in your area.

    I love Julia Child in Diane's garden♡. It didnt seem to like mine. I might try again after we move.

  • Erika
    27 days ago

    For in front of roses I’ve used serbian bellflower which has worked well - short but not too short. Its not tough enough to be stepped on when manuvering around the rose pruning

    I didnt have luck with bluestar creeper either, but wooly thyme and corsican mint can work well if you are willing to be fierce keeping it in line.

    I also love yarrow, salvia and alliums with roses since they are good at attracting beneficial insects and decorative butterflies. Peonies are nice too for some pre-rose bloom color and then a solid green backdrop (or forground for tall roses) later in the season

  • Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA
    Original Author
    27 days ago
    last modified: 27 days ago

    @Sunny Mississippi 8a,

    Your combos look beautiful!

    With zinnias, I don't think I fertilized them enough this year...or something; so they are small, spindly, and very disappointing; the lower leaves dry out so ugly, never mind the mildew.

    For me, it's definitely not a plant for the landscape; just something to keep in the back, out of sight, for cut flowers - and that's when you fertilize and take care of them well. Otherwise, even those are disappointing. Instead, I ordered 4 more dahlias that supposedly grow well in the South, because the one I had and didn't do much of anything for, put my zinnias to shame with her presence.

    So fewer zinnias, more dahlias (despite dahlias not being recommended for the South, in general). We shall see next year.

    The fact that you are in Missisipi (hot and humid) and your Julia looks like this, commands respect. :) Mine is completely defoliated from BS, with a few little tips with leaves, and the poor plant trying to bloom a little. So are the others around her, more or less.


    My problem is that I can't seem to follow a spray program in the summer, not even a good enough watering one, because there always seems to be something. Either we travel or as it is these days, much uglier.

    This summer I had a serious excuse. Covid pneumonia + hospitalization with some oxygen requirements (so not one of the easy-peasy cases) ; but somehow I emerged whole, able to think about roses, although still with some weaknesses, recovering.

    So yeah. I just can't seem to spray. In my 4 years experience of growing roses (this is the 4th), if you don' spray in the South, and if you don't keep up with the watering, they will do very poorly over the summer. In fact, might as well not have them.

    But I keep roses for the Spring and hope that one day, I'll be able to step up in the summer too and keep up the spraying and watering requirements.

    Good as Gold was my best performer in the bed this year, especially in Spring, It literally glows in the landscape, almost surreal.

    Easy Does It was the best pot performer.

    Olivia Rose (in pot) would be up there too if it didn't have such weak stems that it can't support the bloom. I wonder if this issue gets better with age.

    Overall, I seem to do better with pots than with the ones in the ground. The rose bed is out of my way/sight. The pots, I can see them right outside my kitchen windows all the time, and I think I somehow tend to them more.

    I realized I want something blue in that bed, or at least purple...although ...with strong coral (the Drifts), and with strong yellows from Good as Gold and Julia...if I add blue, that might be too garish.

    Yet I still want some blue in there, or purple. This is why I got the asters, plus I love them. We'll see what they do, hopefully they will behave better than just a mum.

    Indeed, for whatever reason, rose beds crave blue and purple, not sure why.

    And then I have another color to deal with: an orange-sunset from a Coneflower. I am SO putting that plant there because I love it so much!

    So now, it will be a color fest in that bed...but once they all blend together, hopefully it will be fine.

    Just colorful nature. :)

    @Aaron Rosarian Zone 5b

    I LOVE the ethereal texture and was actually looking for something just like that because everything I have there is a bit too solid, big statement bloom.

    @sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a),

    The color noise-makers in that bed are the coral Drifts. Those things SPEAK UP from a distance. So I have red-coral, some pretty strong yellows, and now sunset orange too - and I also want to add blue/purple! Imagine that! So you are right I need some white. I think some alyssum on the edge should help the eye rest. :)


    I am rooting some salvia indoors and plan to add it further in the back. When I take pictures, it looks like there are a ton of gaps to fill around the existing roses - but in person, the bed is not as empty/sparse as it appears in pictures.

    Thank you all for your suggestions!

  • Sunny Mississippi 8a
    26 days ago

    @Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA

    Im so happy you are trying dahlias! which varieties? i was discouraged at a local nursery from ever trying dahlias. You have given me hope!

    Im sorry you had such a struggle with your health this year. I too turned to roses for solace during the pandemic.

    I have a no-spray garden. This spring I moved the Julia Child roses to the sunniest location in my beds, made sure to mulch, provide some room to breath, and once in awhile fertilize. They had a a bit of blackspot this spring that defoliated half the bushes, but they rebounded quickly.

    Where did you grt your Easy Does It? It has been on my wishlist for years.

    I also grow roses in pots. Its my area of trial and error. Plus Im almost terrified to put any Kordes in the ground for fear of my house being swallowed😂.

    Lastly, you are spot on with wanting blue/purple in with your other roses bc those are the strongest complementing colors to yellow and orange. Blue and purple receed and will let your bright colors pop!

    Sweet Mademoiselle does well for me no-spray in the ground. i cut it back by half and it still wants to bloom and reach 7’. It might work for you too!

  • Feiy Lo (PNWZ8b)
    26 days ago

    I wanted some blues so I got Delphinium 'Diamonds Blue' this spring. It's a true blue short delphinium about 20" tall. Hardy to Z3. You might want to consider it.

  • Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA
    Original Author
    26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    @Feiy Lo (PNWZ8b),

    With that blue, delphinium was the first on my mind - there's no prettier blue in nature than that of delphinium. The trouble is I keep reading it is not a good plant for my area. :(

    I do want it in a container though!

  • Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA
    Original Author
    26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    @Sunny Mississippi 8a,

    For dahlias, I ordered Kelvin Floodlight, Thomas Edison, Bloodstone and the famous Cafe au Lait. The first three are supposed to be heat-resistant and good (enough) for the South; the last is just simply irresistible (apparently, the dahlia of choice for bridal bouquet, absolutely gorgeous IMO); so I got it regardless, to give it a chance and see what's what.

    Oh, I was discouraged too. But frankly speaking, they don't sound to me any more difficult for the South than roses. Not to me.

    I got Easy Does It on ebay two years ago, own root in a small pot. It grew pretty tall, but it still produced spindly stems.

    Then I saw a really nice sturdy bush at my local nursery but I didn't want to get another one, although IT IS a good rose overall, and my best bloomer.

    In all honesty, in my 4th year I am still struggling with roses, and no one discourages them for the South, unlike Dahlias.

    I accepted I did not do everything perfectly in the rose bed (spray and consistent watering) and there's a tree nearby and all that - so be it.

    But with the pots?...I tended to them more, and fed them, and kept the watering pretty consistent.

    I think I've done everything that's recommended, except spraying. But many people don't spray and still show amazing roses.

    I see people posting pots with so much bloom, mine never cover themselves in blooms, no matter what I do. Sure, in the Spring they have more blooms and they are larger, as the picture of Good as Gold shows at the top; that's the best I got and that's in Spring.

    But I wouldn't say even THAT could be characterized as 'covered in blooms."

    Then, it's all downhill from there.

    Never mind a few grow so spindly, they can barely hold the bloom when there is one. Olivia Rose is the worst in that respect.

    By contrast, with this one dahlia I have, I dropped the tubers at the corner of a raised bed a couple of years ago, and more or less forgot about it.

    This year I did not even bother to stake it. Part of it did fall down, but when it came time for it to produce some blooms, it did. Not a ton, but the few present are large, stand up, fill up the vase I am starting to wonder how much more unsuitable are Dahlias for the South than roses, really?

    My roses get absolutely devastated by black spot so summers are pretty much off.

    Nothing is going on. The few blooms, if there are any, are very sparse and small sitting on a defoliated bush. That doesn't even count.

    I keep them for Spring and I could say this year I had some Spring success - but isn't the whole point to keep them blooming throughout the season?

    Because this way, virtually all flowers are dazzling in Spring. You get success with bulbs too.

    In my yard, roses seem to behave like bulbs. Some great beauty in Spring, then bye-bye. Frustrating. I am probably doing something wrong.

    Maybe I should add lime to give them a fighting chance against BS, as @strawchicago z5 suggested.

  • oursteelers 8B PNW
    26 days ago

    Severe, don’t get discouraged. I know how uou feel when you see those wildly full bushes. I don’t think I’ll ever have that either (except maybe with Renae and Princess Charlene de Monaco) and I’m slowly coming to accept that.

    There are just too many tree roots and too much shade here. I just keep trying to do for them what I can and hope maybe someday some others will jump into that wildly successful boat!

    Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA thanked oursteelers 8B PNW
  • Severe_Novice Zone 7B GA
    Original Author
    26 days ago

    @oursteelers 8B PNW,

    I appreciate your words of encouragement. I won't completely give them up because I love the rose bloom too much to do that, and can get something in the Spring; but I certainly have zero incentive to add to what I have. I will probably be one of the few aorund here who have zero new orders this year and for many to come. :)

    I see so many beauties but now I know what my yard (or I) can do. So until I see the ones I DO have peforming high and mighty, nothing else appeals to me.

    I will never know if that nearby tree is the real culprit and the source of the mediocrity of those in the ground...but now I am adding a few companion plants in that area because the bed looks so I hear they do better with companions.

    I wish tree roots were decorative and helpful. LoL

    As for those in the pots, I am puzzled. I'll try to add some pictures.

    Maybe @strawchicago z5 will have an opinion because she seems to be the Great Sage of Roses. I don't think all Horticulture departments combined have the minute scientific knowledge she seems to have. :)