The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Going Native: Swamp Rose


I planted a Swamp Rose, Rosa palustris, last spring of 2010 along the bed that parallels my potager. It is planted in an area that receives full sun. The soil is clay but is very wet in spring and after heavy rains. It is considered a shrub rose and should grow to be about 6-8′ tall. It’s habit is upright with bushy-branched, thorny stems. In just one year it has bloomed!

I have never grown roses before and figured it would be good to begin with wild roses, although I don’t do anything for this rose. I am amazed at its growth in spite of my neglect. I have some suckering shoots that I may try to transplant in other areas of my garden to see how it does. I prefer the open blooms of wild roses and I felt that my garden would not be complete without a rose, or two, or maybe three … They smell good, really good.

There’s lots of insect activity. In the evening the petals close up. This morning I witnessed an impatient bumble bee force open the closed petals to get inside. This rose should also produce hips which I will leave to overwinter for the birds, and because their bright red color will be pretty dusted with snow. Oh, did I mention the leaves turn a brilliant red in the fall? I am very happy with this native addition to my garden – you might be, too.


Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

4 thoughts on “Going Native: Swamp Rose

  1. These are great roses. I started with these, too. Unfortunately, it was when my garden was very new, I was still planning things, and moved it around so much I finally killed it. I miss it, though. Your post has made me think I need this rose again.

  2. Native roses are the one thing I have not added to my landscape. Partly because I always associate roses with traditional roses and intense chemical management (even though I know better about the native ones). This one looks like a good one to start with.Thanks,Heather

  3. wonderful beautiful rose, I think it is a good idea to plant a native rose. I imagine that it will grow happily without a need for lots of human intervention like some roses. We don't have the option of a native rose. My favourite one for ease of growing is the Banksia rose. But the flower is not as large and achingly beautiful like yours and the flowering period is so short if you blink you might miss it.

  4. I love these! they are one of my favorites. They are in a prairie I visit often and plan to put them in one of my native woodland borders.

Thank you for joining me in the making of my garden!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s