I am joining Diana of Elephant’s Eye in choosing twelve months of my favorite garden plants. In this month of February, I am feeling “pink love”, dark chocolate, and … Roses! Not a dozen dying red roses in a vase (my Valentine knows to give me live flowers), but roses in the garden. What could be more romantic? I always felt my garden would be incomplete without at least one rose, but ah hem haw, I had never grown roses. I don’t use chemical fertilizers or pesticides or sprays – roses require such things don’t they? No! So, there’s no excuse not to include a rose in this garden of my twelve favorites. I decided on two native, wild roses to add to my garden and I would recommend both to anyone who fears “high maintenance roses” and who likes to garden on the wild side.
I planted a Swamp Rose, Rosa Palustris, along the edge of my Potager where the soil tends to stay moist. This rose has grown substantially in just a few years from bare root. It has put forth suckers but they are easily dug up. Never one to pass up a new plant, I have begun a mini rose hedge/border.
Along my “classic” chain link fence garden feature, I planted a Climbing Prairie Rose, Rosa Setigera. This rose puts that fence to shame as it should be. It grows alongside our new covered back porch so I can really enjoy its fragrance and blooms. Every now and then I redirect the canes to follow the fence line.
Aside from romantic blooms and perfumed summer nights, roses also offer interest in Fall and Winter. Yellow-orange leaves in Fall stand out against darkening skies. In Winter, rosy red hips brighten snow and ice.
Roses are also pollinator friendly and fruit loving birds such as Robins will eat the hips. I know my Leafcutter Bees use the leaves for their nests as evidenced by their nearly perfect, circular cut outs. What’s not to love?