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Rose Companions: Seed-Grown Favorites to Compliment the Beauty of Roses

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The lush blossoms and complex perfume of blooming roses make them the true queens of the garden. And every season I also plan and plant a new court of companion flowers, grown from seed, to set off and nurture my roses. These flowers attract pollinators and add beauty and grace to the landscape surrounding the rose bushes, and many are pretty in bouquets along with roses. All can be handily started from spring sowing for a long season of enjoyment. Here are a few favorites.

 

Beautiful Cosmos

 

Dwarf Sonata Cosmos are dainty looking but sturdy, reliable and easy to grow. These compact 2 1/2 foot tall plants have fine-cut, lacy, bright green foliage and flowers in pretty magenta rose, white, and pink, all with bright yellow centers that nod gracefully around rose bushes, adding a tapestry background.

My own favorites are the Cosmos Snow Sonata, and we sell them in a separate packet. They are milk-white dancing blossoms that form a soft but striking background for dramatic rose colors. Sonata Cosmos are carefree and simple flowers to grow from seed and they attract butterflies and pollinators to your garden. They can be sown directly into the garden each spring in any good soil in full sun. I often make several sowings of Sonata, so I can have a continuous sea of their satiny blooms to display with my ever-blooming roses all summer long both indoors and out.

 

A Sweet Carpet of Alyssum 

Alyssum makes a perfect ground cover to sow at the feet of rose bushes. These low-growing spreading plants quickly flower creating lovely patterns. We offer them in peach, or mixtures of pastel rose, pink, lavender, violet, and white. Their dense, tiny flower clusters have a deliciously honey-scented fragrance. Alyssum is one of the best flowers to bring regular visits from a wide variety of pollinators and beneficial insects. These scented low growing flowers bloom vigorously to mid-summer; then I cut them back with shears, water well and am rewarded with another flush of soft velvety bloom that covers the ground beautifully around my mature roses. Click here to see our selections.

Charming Nigella

Nigella’s common name “Love in a Mist” gives you some sense of this old-fashioned cottage garden flower's charm. The very filigreed, lace-like foliage fronds almost float in the air around delicate stems of faceted flowers in pastel hues. The seed pods that follow the flowers make wonderful everlasting displays. Nigella blooms effortlessly in early spring and self-sows itself easily. Plants reach about 12 inches tall, and provide a romantic backdrop for roses first full blushes of spring bloom. Click here to see our selections.

Lovely Perfumed Lavender

Lavender can be tricky to start from seed, but with new cultivars like our French Perfume and White Ice you can have reliably grow dozens of sturdy handsome plants from packets. Follow our growing instructions carefully, and by the middle of spring, you can plant 2-3 inch seedlings into the rose garden, 2 feet apart and 2 feet from your rose bushes. Seed-grown lavender gets established and will have just a few flowers their first season, but will mature nicely so that in their 2nd and 3rd year they form handsome mounds of narrow gray-green foliage. In mid to late June their deep purple or snowy white, richly scented spikes flower gloriously along with summer roses at their peak. Even after their flowering is finished, the silvery aromatic foliage of lavender is a perfect compliment to roses in the garden. 

 

Beautiful Cosmos

 

Dwarf Sonata Cosmos are dainty looking but sturdy, reliable and easy to grow. These compact 2 1/2 foot tall plants have fine-cut, lacy, bright green foliage and flowers in pretty magenta rose, white, and pink, all with bright yellow centers that nod gracefully around rose bushes, adding a tapestry background.

My own favorites are the Cosmos Snow Sonata, and we sell them in a separate packet. They are milk-white dancing blossoms that form a soft but striking background for dramatic rose colors. Sonata Cosmos are carefree and simple flowers to grow from seed and they attract butterflies and pollinators to your garden. They can be sown directly into the garden each spring in any good soil in full sun. I often make several sowings of Sonata, so I can have a continuous sea of their satiny blooms to display with my ever-blooming roses all summer long both indoors and out.

 

A Sweet Carpet of Alyssum 

Alyssum makes a perfect ground cover to sow at the feet of rose bushes. These low-growing spreading plants quickly flower creating lovely patterns. We offer them in peach, or mixtures of pastel rose, pink, lavender, violet, and white. Their dense, tiny flower clusters have a deliciously honey-scented fragrance. Alyssum is one of the best flowers to bring regular visits from a wide variety of pollinators and beneficial insects. These scented low growing flowers bloom vigorously to mid-summer; then I cut them back with shears, water well and am rewarded with another flush of soft velvety bloom that covers the ground beautifully around my mature roses. Click here to see our selections.

Charming Nigella

Nigella’s common name “Love in a Mist” gives you some sense of this old-fashioned cottage garden flower's charm. The very filigreed, lace-like foliage fronds almost float in the air around delicate stems of faceted flowers in pastel hues. The seed pods that follow the flowers make wonderful everlasting displays. Nigella blooms effortlessly in early spring and self-sows itself easily. Plants reach about 12 inches tall, and provide a romantic backdrop for roses first full blushes of spring bloom. Click here to see our selections.

Lovely Perfumed Lavender

Lavender can be tricky to start from seed, but with new cultivars like our French Perfume and White Ice you can have reliably grow dozens of sturdy handsome plants from packets. Follow our growing instructions carefully, and by the middle of spring, you can plant 2-3 inch seedlings into the rose garden, 2 feet apart and 2 feet from your rose bushes. Seed-grown lavender gets established and will have just a few flowers their first season, but will mature nicely so that in their 2nd and 3rd year they form handsome mounds of narrow gray-green foliage. In mid to late June their deep purple or snowy white, richly scented spikes flower gloriously along with summer roses at their peak. Even after their flowering is finished, the silvery aromatic foliage of lavender is a perfect compliment to roses in the garden.