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We live in hardiness zone 7 and our house has quite a long gravel drive (about 30 metres), with beds either side which are about 2-2.5 metres wide.  The drive is south-facing and sloping (about 1:10).  To the east is a laurel hedge and to the west is a neighbour's garden separated by a wire mesh fence.  The soil is sandy loam, alkaline, free-draining but relatively poor.  

I am looking to plant something which will give colour and interest, and preferably perfume too, but which will be tolerant of cold winters and warm, sometimes dry summers.  

I have been growing lavenders from seed since the spring (Hidcote, Munstead & Elegance Sky) and rosemary, and my plan is to use these as between and underplanting for some rosa rugosa.  I will probably go for Roseraie de l'Hay which is said to be strongly perfumed and will tolerate poor soil and drought.

The rose growers are now accepting orders for bare-root stock.  

My question is, is this a good plan, and should I go for all one variety of rose or perhaps use other varieties too?  My personal feeling is to stick to one variety, to make it more integrated and 'designed' rather than a cottage garden feel, but I'd welcome other people's thoughts & ideas.

I will need quite a few roses to make a border on each side, so it is a fairly large financial investment for me, not to mention my time and effort, so I'd like to do 'a proper job' first time, if at all possible.

My advice is to go with what YOU feel is right!


The lavenders sound perfect for your soil, I have some sort of hedge rose in my front garden, it never grows above 2 feet and would work well with lavender.


Indeed Roseraie de l'Hay does have the most wonderful perfume, like something from which attar of roses is made - but, it does not flower all summer long, unlike others of the rugosa group.  You might want to think about that, but having said that, I wish I had known it before we planted our mixed hedge, I would have added more of them!

Paul N

I think your idea sounds really good. Roserie de l'Hay is a rugosa rose and extremely trouble free, healthy and require little pruning. One word of warning. Whilst rugosas tolerate poor soil, no rose enjoys sandy soil so I would dig in lots and lots of well rotted horse muck to improve the soil. All one colour - deep red? Fine and it does have a wonderful perfume. Leave the large red hips to over winter so don't deadhead them.

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