Fraser Valley Rose Farm

Other plants

I was a gardener long before I ever planted a rose. So even though I’ve focused a lot of my efforts recently in becoming very good at propagating roses, growing only roses was never a serious consideration. It’s a silly way to garden anyhow. As much diversity as you can find in the many species and hybrid roses, there just isn’t a rose to fill every gardening niche. Evergreen shrubs, trees, perennials, bulbs and even annuals (notice I put them last, tho) each have a space to fill in the garden that a deciduous flowering shrub like a rose cannot, even if you decided that the rose was the only deciduous shrub you would grow.

I see these beds of roses (only) and I shudder a bit. They’ve become a collection, like plates hung on a wall.That’s not a garden.

In addition to filling in all those spaces and seasons in the garden, diversity is essential for the health of your garden. Companion plants host the beneficial insects that are necessary to maintain balance, and thus some level of control over pests. A good balance of plants can crowd out weeds, add to soil fertility, and increase the usefulness of your garden by providing herbs and fruit and flowers for the kitchen table.

Even if I could force myself into a monogamous relationship with the rose (doubtful), it would be a poor business decision. We’re new to farming, and I have no idea what will actually make money for us. Cut flowers? Potted herbs? Beneficial insectary plants? Fruiting shrubs and trees? For a small farm, it might be smarter to keep an open mind, and see what people are willing to support with their wallets. Which means that I get to order lots of seeds and interesting plants that I wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to grow. Not a bad outcome at all.