While taking a naturalistic approach to landscape design landscapers want to mimic what nature has to offer as nature is replete with ecologically balanced communities of plants that give areas of the country a certain look. The naturalistic landscape is one that draws its inspiration from an attempt to re-create what Mother Nature has already done. A landscape is easier to plant and maintain if it includes characteristics of the wilderness that existed before the European domination of the continent, I.E. native plants in their naturalistic habitats. A naturalistic landscape does not have to consist entirely of native species, but the plants should be arranged as if they would be found in a natural setting. Consider placing the plants in layers found along a woodland edge, or even mixed plantings in the low lands of a prairie. If the natural landscape was a mix of meadows, ponds, and coniferous woods with green moss, a naturalistic landscape design might include a pond edged with hardy roses and blueberries or huckleberries, with mossy logs amongst the shrubs to form the back drop for the brightly colored roses.
When Landscapers look to nature for inspiration they can find that roses colors tend to be variations on themes rather than splashes of colors like confetti at a parade with a rainbow of colors everywhere. So when Landscapers are designing a naturalistic landscape with roses they tend to pick a color, such as apple blossom pink, and then plant several low-maintenance roses with similarly colored flowers. When we choose wild rose look-a-likes such as the Multiflora ‘Fracincis E. Lester’ and Luther Burbanks ‘Apple Blossom’ we have chosen good candidates for this particular color theme, along with other native flowers such as the Carolina rose (R. Carolina), R virginiana, and R. Californica.
When designing the naturalistic rose garden the plants should not be arranged into hedges or pruned into meatball shapes like in the red queen’s garden from Alice in Wonderland. Rather they should be allowed to grow naturally. The lines of the garden should not be straight, and when adding curves they should not be regular or uniform. The Architectural elements if needed at all should be of rustic and of minor significance in the garden. The colors are added with restraint. Instead of having the pathways lined with evenly spaced plants, roses or other plants may drift across the path with shrubs in groups of seven with three on one side and four on the other side of the path. The naturalistic landscape is the most informal of all the landscape designs.
Taking note of nature and getting out into a natural setting far away from cities or towns will commonly produce plenty of great landscaping ideas. A landscaper might take a drive through the high meadows of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and find the western wild rose that is native to California growing in clumps as part of a plant community with the conifers, low shrubs, and grasses.
Finding themes for the naturalistic landscape at home by studying native habitats can be very rewarding for landscape designers. We can find what role roses play in the ecology of the wild landscape, what functions they serve, and ultimately how the wild roses will allow us to develop landscapes that are healthy and diverse. This will allow for the creation of a community of creatures that will come to inhabit this new territory. Creating this type naturalistic landscape will work with the forces of Mother Nature not against her.
Roses are essentially considered to be woody shrubs so they can be used to create a dense brush edging between a grassy area and taller trees. Roses love full sunlight and like to have plenty of water to perform really well, they usually have sharp thorns, “Every rose has its thorn” or so the song goes. The thorns suggest that the rose has adapted to live in areas of the world where they may be subjected to grazing by large mammals. Deer for example love to eat the blossoms of roses and I can personally attest to that as I had to get a dog to protect my yard from these unwanted grazers.