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Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

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Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by Admin on 8th August 2009, 23:22

I'm looking for some ideas for low growing perennials that I can plant around the base of my roses. At the moment I have lots of forget-me-not (FMN) growing around them and that's fine, except they die off... I'd like something a little more permanent along the same lines. I have lots of perennials around but I particularly like the way the FMNs grow densley and not too tall. Penestemon are too tall for most roses though I have lots of them as space fillers. Needs to be able to cope with a dry summer and freezing in winter. The roses with the FMN under them always do better than the ones without so I'd like something shallow rooted that can grow right in and around the rose trunks. I have grown lambs ears around them before and don't like the way they die off. I have tried seaside daisies but they grow up the trunk and get too high... thinking I might try Snow in Summer and see how that goes. Would like it to spread by runners or by division. I have chamomile too and really like this option. Yarrow gets too high in a rich garden bed but is also nice.


Last edited by Simon on 9th August 2009, 21:39; edited 3 times in total

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by Billndee on 8th August 2009, 23:42

Nepeta works fairly well. It grows about the same height as seaside daisies but just fans out from its centre. I cut it back very short in the winter when it goes daggy, then it comes away again in the spring.
I also have pansies that self-seed each year. They hang around flowering all year.
I also have something like snow in summer that flowers nicely in the spring then continues as a slowly spreading ground cover the rest of the year. I have tried to strike it to increase it in the garden but it always fails. I don't know how to do that proplerly.

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by Admin on 8th August 2009, 23:50

Catmint!!! That would be good. What about livingstone daisies? Are they annuals? The FMN self seed all over the place and come up like weeds (I pull them out like weeds too Rolling Eyes )... a perennial FMN would be good Wink

Dee... does your snow in summer-like plant have yellow flowers instead of white? there is one like this around that also looks really nice but I don't know what it is.

What about violets? They are hard to get rid of once you have them though and my chooks love them Rolling Eyes

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by orchid40 on 9th August 2009, 10:51

Alyssum looks really pretty amongst the roses - there are several colours to choose from and it doesn't get too tall.

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by orchid40 on 9th August 2009, 10:53

Violets really like a shady bed - I have them under my treeferns. I think the roses wouldn't provide enough shade for them.

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by Billndee on 9th August 2009, 21:29

I don't know the yellow flower Simon, mine is white and I am not sure if it is the official snow in summer either, it just seems a good name for it.

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by Admin on 9th August 2009, 21:36

Isn't Alyssum an annual? I have prostrate clematis, penstemon, geranium, potentilla, a prostrate mint bush, a prostrate ceanothus, aquilegia, alstromera, daisies, crocosima, dierama, bearded and Dutch iris, lemon balm, chamomile, lupins, peony (tree and bush), carnations, lavender, sisyrinchium (yellow, blue, and white - these are really nice... I have one called 'Devon Skies' that I'm going to put around as many roses as I can) and a few others through the gardens now... but am looking for a perennial that spreads by layering/runners/stolons etc that will form a dense weed excluding buffer around the rose trunks... I'll take a photo tomorrow of the forget-me-nots around the roses to explain what I mean. I have a lot of cuttings in of a dwarf pink lavender called 'Fairy Floss' that gets to about 30cm tall that I'd like to put around but again... it doesn't spread and run.

Keep the ideas coming Smile

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by Admin on 9th August 2009, 21:47

Was thinking of Thyme too... anyone use this?

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by orchid40 on 9th August 2009, 21:50

Yes, Simon, Alyssum is an annual, but it's self-seeding so it's always there.
FMNs are the same, aren't they?

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by Admin on 9th August 2009, 21:55

They self seed well enough but they seem to peak and then die off allowing plenty of time for other adventitious weeds to jump in.

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by Ripley on 11th August 2009, 22:05

Diascia are nice and very tough. Drought resistant, frost resistant, nothing bothers it. All you do is cut them back when the flowers start to finish , give it a feed and off it goes again. Doesnt spread or run tho More a clumper like catmint
Pigface?..bit garish(sp?) for roses..

hmm have to keep thinking..


Last edited by Ripley on 11th August 2009, 22:06; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by Abbi on 12th August 2009, 17:32

There's a ground cover campanula that spreads nicely, also a low growing dianthus that forms a dense green mat, then has neat little red flowers in spring.

I used to have a purple ajuga in a rose bed, an idea I saw at Tesselars display garden in Melbourne, but its too enthusiastic, unless you have the patience to rip it out around the base of the roses so they don't get throttled. It does form a dense weed mat though. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by Admin on 12th August 2009, 20:41

Yeah... I was thinking of Ajuga too... I have a lot of it here in along a path... I don't know that I would bother pulling it out from around the rose as this is the effect I am trying to achieve... cover right up to the trunk and believe roses (at least here because the soil is very friable and deep) can cope with crowding with shallow rooted groundcovers. I was looking at campanula in the GE cat. that arrived yesterday too thinking it looked pretty good for what I want as well... hmmm


Last edited by Simon on 12th August 2009, 22:26; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by Abbi on 12th August 2009, 22:21

The ajuga type that I had strong connections between the plants that got very tight around the roses. I was afraid it might damage them, but perhaps they would have been OK anyway.

the campanula is quite easy to multiply with cuttings and division after you get it .

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by Admin on 12th August 2009, 22:36

This is the forget-me-nots around 'Mary Rose' and 'Maurice Utrillo' (note all the new growth on 'Mary Rose' already... think I'm going to shorten the left a bit to even her up but she's even got a flower on her atm)... sorry about the poor pic... was taken with the point and shoot pretty much in the dark. The grassy looking plant infront of the FMN is the sisyrinchium.

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by Abbi on 13th August 2009, 17:21

That looks effective, Simon

I have just planted forget me knots , from Dee's bountiful garden, around my roses. can't wait to see them grow like that.

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by Abbi on 13th August 2009, 21:03

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Ajuga under roses. 2007, in my previous life in NSW

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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by Happy roses on 16th April 2011, 21:42

Hi Simon,

I know this thread was written a while ago, but I would like to know what did you end up using as ground cover? I'm interested in doing the same and I would like to try Summer in snow. Can Lavender be grown in there as well or does Summer in snow take over? ( I heard lavender deters moths)

Also have chicken wire down to stop kitty from using it as a litter tray, would I have to leave the wire down or is summer thick enough?

cheers Smile
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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by hariet~rose on 3rd February 2013, 13:02

I thought I'd recover this thread with a follow up on Betsy's ideas about ground covers, shade loving perhaps, but compatible with roses.. so far we have the suggestions in this thread above but elsewhere we have also mentioned golden oregano, Artemisia ludoviciana, Physostegia (but can be invasive)... I just remembered this one as well, Stellaria holostea, from the carnation family. It only flowers in spring (but you can see lots of images on the web) but is not invasive in my garden. I have it growing below Conrad F. Meyer, Duchesse de Montebello and Mme Alfred Carriere where it smothers any weeds (and i haven't weeded under these three for more than 10 yrs) but doesn't send down deep roots to intefere with the roses.. after flowering its leaves stay bright green.. so it gets a good rap from me and might suit your needs Betsy Thumbsup
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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by betsyw on 5th February 2013, 09:51

How could anyone resist a plant variously called Addersmeat, or Greater Stitchwort? I mean, just to be able to point it out to visitors would be a triumph of garden party conversation :-)))))))))))))))))))))

Its spring-only bloom is a problem, though. I make my plants work hard for a living.

But I love this thread, hariet. You have a fabulous store of knowledge!
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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by hariet~rose on 5th February 2013, 20:48

I thought those ajugas were working hard and doing a good job Betsy in that photo above from 2008.. might be a different variety from mine though, which is low growing.. would give you another enjoyable name to toss around to unsuspecting visitors.. Australian Bugle
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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by betsyw on 5th February 2013, 21:23

Ajuga! Might the very thing, hariet. Missed that photo first time around. (Who is Abbi? That garden is positively English!).

Wew are going out to the big garden nursery at Maitland on Monday. That ajuga and A ludo are on the list/
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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by silkyfizz on 5th February 2013, 22:28

Hi Betsy. I'm trying Geranium Rozanne in my upcoming red bed. Susan Irvine used it quite extensively apparently with her roses. Only found it today so snapped it up. Lots of blue/violet flowers and attractive foliage. Also in there will be an assortment of blue salvias. Break off a sprig, stick it in and voila, within a week its shooting. In the front along the drive where I will plant a row of Munstead Woods, I want to try Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum) to spill over and down the grey rocks. Haven't used it before but I believe its tough and fuss free. Has anyone used this? I wonder if it needs much trimming?
Good luck in your search. Maybe if we all swap ideas we'll arrive at that perfect rose partner.
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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by betsyw on 5th February 2013, 22:48

I had thought of snow in summer, but it needs more sun than I think I can provide. Silky, have you tried nepeta? I was thinking of trialling one of the compact blues.
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Re: Looking for ideas... low growing perennials

Post by hariet~rose on 5th February 2013, 23:01

my blue salvia is now a pest and it chokes the root systems of others by virtue of its rope-like under ground rhizomes - so heads up there.. mind you there are lots of different blue salvias so i will try and be helpful and remember its proper name.... silkyfizz last week (?) we had a discussion and photos of snow insummer ( i think i loaded some pics).. it grows well in shade and sun here..it loves rocks.. look foward to any photos of the geraniums - very partial to them
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