Some roses have a natural inclination to spread wider than growing tall, so they excel as ground covers. They produce blankets or cushions of lush, billowing flowers; six or more of the same low roses clustered together are in a word, glorious. Garden designers have long found them to be an invaluable asset and make smart use of them to fill empty corners or line a walk along the side of a house. Or just grab all the attention by planting them as an island of free bloom.
When using roses for ground covers, however, set aside the notions you may have about the more traditional ones. Classic covers suppress weeds, and roses won`t. Also, unlike many ground covers, roses don`t hug the ground, but can mound up to a few feet. And you can`t walk on them! So they`re not ground covers per se
, but low-growing flowering plants.
A wonderful choice is `Scarlet Meidiland`. Although small, the crimson blossoms have an exceptional brilliance. The best news is, unlike many red roses these will not fade in the sun. The double, 1-inch flowers bloom in large clusters so if you cut the end of one stem you`ll have an instant nosegay! One of the longest-blooming shrub roses, it is rarely without flowers and continues after most roses have quit. Also, the rose in bud form is perfect for air drying as it holds the bright colour for many months.
`Scarlet Meidiland` naturally reaches 3 to 4 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide, making it a perfect choice for a ground cover, a hedge or a barrier. It tolerates both sun & shade and is hardy to 10 above zero.
If you have a passion for vibrant colour, the kind that sets your heart racing, plant Rosa `Carefree Wonder`. Its strong pink is electrifying despite the creamy reverse side of the petals. There is no chance of boredom in the garden whenever this rose is in residence. The buds are rounded, rather than pointed, and when they open, each of the double, 4-inch blossoms has a tousled look, with sweet ruffles around golden stamens. Appearance alone might explain its name. However, it was dubbed `Carefree Wonder` for its low maintenance and its healthy disease and insect resistance.
`The Fairy` is a showstopper. Her masses of pink blooms cover the bush in drifts of clouds. Each clump of small, 1-inch, fully double flowers starts out as a bright, medium-pink and fades to a bashful blush. Part of the breathtaking appeal of this compact grower is the presence of both of these colours side by side at any given time. Barely reaching 3 feet, `The Fairy` shines as a ground cover, preferring to grow out rather than up. You can call on her, too, to form a low hedge or balance a perennial border.