The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Two In A Dozen For Diana

9 Comments

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?

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Author: Kathy Sturr

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

9 thoughts on “Two In A Dozen For Diana

  1. Good grief – I see swamp and ice, no wonder my roses murmur – it's a little HOT in Porterville! I'm losing a few to the summer, and letting the other, mostly indigenous plants claim the space. I miss seeing evidence of leafcutter bees. I know we had them in the last garden.But I will look out for a couple of the roses Ludwig's calls Ecochic. Proof against the heat, and woken up to the idea that gardeners don't LIKE spraying chemicals on a flower they want to bury their own nose in.

  2. Good for you for finding two perfect roses for your garden! So pretty, and zone 4 is not an easy zone to find a hardy rose for. Loved the winter pictures, too.

  3. Kathy these are delicious roses and I will have to search them out. I have tried other roses but you know our weather and I also don't use chemicals. So perhaps they can be happy in my garden too…

  4. Donna, my Swamp Rose may sucker again this year so I could send you a root. I purchased it from Prairie Moon. The Prairie Rose I purchased from Brushwood Nursery, but I think Prairie Moon may also offer it.

  5. I love native roses! My swamp rose grows successfully in a sunnier part of the woodland garden, and I also grow some species rugosa roses, which are heavenly scented and low maintenance. I also love the rose hips. They are quite tasty and full of Vitamin C, though I am careful about biting into them now, preferring to leave them for the birds, since I once swallowed one full of ants!

  6. Hi Kathy, One of the things that I especially like about these kind of roses are the rose hips. They aren't wimpy and look super in winter. Their fragrance is divine too!

  7. Okay, you've convinced my to add some native roses to my garden. I've been resisting but can't any more. What a great rose with year round interest!

  8. This really is a pretty rose. I like the upward form too. The hips are my favorite at a time of year went everyone needs them.

  9. Kathy, These wonderful photos of your gorgeous roses make me long so for our gardens to spring to life again. Lovely! Lovely! Single roses are so elegant . . . I think. ;>)

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

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