This section is from the book "How To Make A Flower Garden", by Wilhelm Miller. Also available from Amazon: The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques.
THAT depends on what you want them for. If you want them primarily for fine flowers, plant them in an area by themselves, where they can have good care. Roses are highly bred plants. They cannot shift for themselves and yet maintain all their superlative excellences, any more than potatoes or blackberries can. Thrust into the shrubbery, they suffer in the competition. The flowers deteriorate; the bushes dwindle and die. Roses need special treatment and care. They are flower-garden subjects.
If one wants a good mass of shrubbery, he must choose plants that are vigorous, hardy, verdurous, and able in large measure to care for themselves. The common named garden roses do not belong to this class of shrubs. They are not verdurous. Their foliage is scant, not adapted to mass effects, and very liable to insect and fungous attacks. Highly bred roses should not be mixed in the general border.
To all these remarks there are exceptions. Some of the single and wild roses are well adapted to shrubbery masses. This is particularly true of the East Asian Rosa rugosa (page 317), which is hardy, has an attractive habit, strong and picturesque canes, abundant and interesting foliage, attractive large white or red single or semi-double flowers, large and conspicuous fruits, and is practically free from insect and fungous attacks. This rose has character as a shrub, winter and summer.
When I say that roses should be planted by themselves, I do not mean that they should be set in the lawn. They are out of place when scattered over the yard. They mean nothing there. One cannot cultivate them. They are unsightly when tied up in straw for the winter. Their period of attractiveness is short. When the bloom is past they are uninteresting. In the lawn, the plants must compete with the grass. They suffer from drought. Being scattered, they receive only occasional attention.
If you are fond of roses, it is a good plan to make a regular rose garden at the side or rear of your place, in the spirit that you would make a strawberry bed. Choose good soil. Till, and fertilise, and prune. Work for a heavy crop - a crop of large and perfect flowers.
There are certain kinds of roses that are well in place on banks and rough borders and against fences and gates. These are usually not the highly developed named sorts, however.
Crimson Rambler is always in place on a porch; one is shown on page 303. The same may be said of the Baltimore Belle and multiflora types, where they are hardy. If there is no space in which roses can be separately grown, the plants may be placed alongside other shrubbery, and late-blooming herbs may be massed about them to supply foliage and to fill the latter part of the season.
There are two questions to ask when you are discussing the place to grow roses: Are they to be grown primarily for flowers? Are they to form a structural part of the landscape planting?