Southern gardens have roses. Southern gardeners enjoy roses. There are so many varieties to consider in today’s garden, from Antiques to Knockouts.

Despite what we have been told, most roses have the same growing needs that will include at least six hours of sun, well drained soil, regular, consistent water and fertilizer, and air circulation, lots of air.

Instead of the formal rose gardens of our grandparents era, we are seeing landscapes with roses as the focal point in the garden, with companion plants adding to the color scheme of the bed.

When we think of our companions in life we tend to enjoy people who have the same interests, lifestyle, and who bring out the best in us. The same goes when choosing companion plants for roses.

Roses, I will repeat, need air and space between them and the next rose or plant. A good general rule, depending on the rose, is to allow three to five feet between each rose you plant.

A companion plant should be spaced 12 to 18 inches away from the rose. Make a plan. For a new bed, consider how much room you have, and how many roses you will need. In order for the bed to not look “fixed”, having a more natural flow, plant in odd numbers; 1, 3, 5, 7 etc. Roses that will get large in size, as they grown, should have five feet between each rose.

To select companion plants, consider:

Color: If you have yellow roses, you can go with companion plants in different yellow tones or go to the opposite side of the color wheel, and bring in purple blooms. White blooming plants go well with any color rose and make a show in the morning and evening hours. Think about color combinations that you find appealing and search for like plants.

Looking Good: What plants look good with roses? Do you have a rose that produces long stem cutting flowers, or a compact shrub rose such as a Knock out? Will tall spiky plants complement your rose or would a low mounding plant add more depth? Do you have an area behind the roses that need a background plant for texture or do you need to plant in front of your roses. If you don’t know, try both — spiky plants along with mounding. Having a visual picture will help you know, learn, and grow.

Plants that Help: Some plants are known to ward off insects and disease and are not as needy as roses. This is what you are looking for and should consider.

In the past 2 years, articles have appeared supporting the use of herbs in a garden with roses. Alliums are one listed repeatedly, as this family of onions and such have a tendency to rid the bed of aphids and discourage black spot. They are also great pollinators. Their tall spiky flowers look very pretty next to a rose. Sage, especially Russian Sage, Parsley, Rue, Thyme, Oregano, Catmint, and Lavender as nice additions to your rose bed.

Flowering plants suggested are Shasta Daisy, Day Lilies, especially the ‘de Ore varieties, lilies, dwarf or small ornamental grasses, Bee Balm, Salvias, Coreopsis, Cone Flowers, Phlox, Lantana, Marigolds, Angelonia, and Agastache. In general, look for a plant that likes 6-8 hours of sun, moderate water and fertilizer, and well drained soil. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Roses will have a larger presence at the 2023 MG Plant Sale this year. Many wonderful selections will be available, with info on how to grow.

Companion plants will be available also…in abundance, for sure! We look forward to seeing you, serving you and discussing flowers, veggies and plants with you.

We strive to have good quality plants at the lowest price possible. The money you spend will go to help others, through training how to feed a family with small plot gardens, teaching youth about gardening, and scholarships to further Horticulture dreams our young people have.

Serving our community is the Mission of Harrison County Master Gardeners. Come see us Saturday, April 1, 8 a.m. to noon, or until we sell out. Our new location is 1509 Warren Drive, Marshall, Texas 75672. Our greenhouse site is directly across from Republic Industries, next to the Willoughby Center.

Rainwater Harvesting

We will be hosting a Rainwater Harvesting workshop March 9 at Gold Hall in Hallsville. Registration begins at 8:30 am and the program starts at 9 a.m. The program is free and we will conclude by noon. We will have a live demonstration on how to construct a rainwater barrel. Dr. Ram Ray Associate Professor with Prairie View A&M will be the main presenter.

2023 Farm City Week Schedule

Monday, March 20

  • 9:00 am: Voice of Agriculture Speech Contest
  • 6:00 pm: Hamburger Kickoff Dinner with recognition of Speech and Scholarship Winners

Tuesday, March 21

  • 8-9:30 am: Broiler & Rabbit weigh in 9:30 am: Broiler Show Rabbit Show will immediately follow the Broiler Show
  • 12:30-2:30 pm: Weigh in of all Swine, Lambs, Goats & Steers
  • 4:00 pm: Lamb Show directly followed by Goat show and Showmanship

Wednesday, March 22

  • 8:00 am: Swine Show followed by Sale Order, Showmanship & Special Needs Show
  • 1:00 pm: Steer Show directly followed by Jr. & Sr. Beef Showmanship Heifer show directly following showmanship

Thursday, March 23

  • 7:00-9:00 am: Check-in and set up of Ag Mechanics
  • 10:00 am: Judging of Ag Mechanics projects
  • 4:00 to 6:00 pm: Bar-B-Q Dinner at Marshall City Arena
  • 5:00 pm: Awards (Top Hand, Showmanship & Top Buyers)
  • 6:00 pm: Livestock Auction, Silent Auction of Ag Mechanics projects (silent auction ends at 8 pm, with payment due by 8:30)

— Matt Garrett is the county agent for agriculture and natural resources in Harrison County.