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Companion plants for roses: Top English rosarian's A-to-V list of options

David Austin's deep pink English rose 'Gertrude Jekyll' shown with blue Nepeta (catmint) and tall maroon-throated white Digitalis 'Pam's Choice' (foxglove). 'Gertrude Jekyll,' a fragrant, repeat blooming shrub rose, grows to 5 feet tall and 3-1/2 feet wide.What to plant with roses.

It is a quandary familiar to many rose-loving gardeners, and answers can be found in the life's work of English rosarian Michael Marriott. 

As a garden designer, his life has been a literal bed of roses. He has designed rose-filled private and public gardens including the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Queen Mary’s Rose Garden in Regent’s Park

Marriott, senior rosarian for David Austin Roses in Albrighton, England, is known for his formal and informal planting of dense borders and beds of purely roses or roses mixed with perennials.

“The joy is in pairing flowers that play off one another, when seen side by side in full bloom," he says in a written release for David Austin English Roses. "The goal is to heighten peak bloom experiences."

As one might expect, Marriott loves roses. He delights in creating mixed borders with plant partners that enhance roses in bloom. He most often prefers sweeps of color – both complementary and contrasting – to create movement and lead the eye.

Marriott, whose suggested list of companion plants for roses follows, admits to a special fondness for the romantic informality of English roses, which he enhances by pairing them with cottage garden favorites and small-flowered plants with the look of wildflowers. His border designs feature massed plantings of like-with-like for impact and an overall calming effect.

As an organic gardener, he incorporates plants that are attractive to beneficial insects likely to devour aphids and other pests.

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Five-year-old, water-grown amaryllis in bloom and in distress 

Updated on Sunday, April 7, 2019 at 08:23PM by Registered CommenterKimberly L. Jackson

Leafy, with its flower in a bottle vase, after the unfortunate falling accident

Yesterday morning I entered the kitchen before breakfast to find Leafy lying on the floor with a broken neck.


The entire bulb, with its long stem and single open flower, had fallen off its vase. The stem apparently snapped on  impact.


With sadness, I surveyed the plant, seeing that only a slender thread held flower to stem. I had to separate it, and the untimely cut flower on a too short stem is now in water within a fancy olive oil bottle.


The tall, vacant stem, still rising majestically from the bulb, will need to be cut away to facilitate leaf growth.


Thankfully, the break happened on the stem itself, instead of with one of the flowers. I'm very happy that the flowers were not damaged and  can still be enjoyed.


I do usually cut off the flower right at the base near the bulb's top, but only after both flowers are fully open.


The injury came just three days after the first flower started to open. With that flower fully open, the second bud has grown to almost equal size and, it has started to open and likely will be in full bloom before the week ends.


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Forcing amaryllis bulbs in water: Repeat bloom in progress for a fifth year

The 2019 flower bud is preparing to open (shown right), nearly a month earlier than last year, when my pet bulb, Leafy, was in full bloom on April 28. This will be the bulb's fifth year of bloom as an indoor, water-grown  houseplant. 

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Amaryllis grown in water since 2014 prepares for another bloom season

Water-grown amaryllis blooms for fourth year.

Thank goodness for date stamps on photos. I would probably not have a good handle on the bloom cycle of my pet amaryllis, Leafy, without them.

At left is a photo of Leafy taken last year on April 28. While the flower structure wasn't perfect, who could find fault with a bulb that managed to push out TWO large flowers afer having grown so long -- since the winter of 2014 -- in water alone?

Leafy is an amazing bulb that has, surprisingly, managed to send up a new flower stalk this year (see below) after having been able to produce only one leaf after it bloomed last year.

Most of its energy went into recovery and replacing its entire root system after I made the mistake of feeding it a tiny bit of Miracle-Gro fertilizer after the flowers

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Water-grown amaryllis ready to bloom a fifth season with challenges

The roots of my amaryllis Leafy after fertilizer shock in a July 30, 2018 photo.There are so many reasons that I have failed to post an update on Leafy until now.


Somewhere, there is a picture of Leafy in bloom last year, but I never posted it because an SUV crashed into my car and totaled it at about the same time.

Anyway, the good news is that the crash didn't kill me, and the fertilizer didn't kill Leafy.

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