Posted: 26/02/2012 at 16:47
I'd forgo the lavender, although it is associated so much in our 'romantic' minds with roses. I'd plant Nepeta ( catmint ) 'Six Hills Giant' which is tough, tolerant, bomb-proof, long lived and has that heavenly blue-mauve spike that lavender gives - plus the bees love it just as much, if not more.
A shorter rose which I have had enormous success with is 'Easy Does It' ( 'Harpageant' - Harkness roses ) which is the most fabulous shade of - well - Zinfandel wine, actually! A reddish, coppery, rusty...impossible to describe....very unusual...but it flowers all through the season, is disease resistant, and lovely as a cut flower for the house. Gorgeous little rose.
And you could try 'L'Aimant' which is a truer pink Floribunda, and taller, with a lovely scent. No, they're not the 'New English' roses, but they're a lot tougher. I developed a bed of the 'New English' roses many years ago, but they practically all failed as I did not fully appreciate that they weren't ideal for the cooler climate and less sunshine of Scotland, so I've reverted to the out-of-fashion hybrid teas and florries, which are not quite as fragrant, but boy! can they pack a punch!
I know that 'rose beds' seem to have currently gone out of favour, but you stick with it! Fashion fades, style remains! Do what you love and never mind the fashionistas!