Rugosa Redux

Note to self: it helps to include the photos of the flowers you are writing about when you create a blog post…

Pink Rosa Rugosa - Rugosa Rose.

These are our pink rugosas. They aren’t long-stemmed roses, but instead bloom in clusters like you see here.

Pink Rugosa Rose Bud.

The buds are small compared to most hybrid roses, as the Rugosa has just a single circle of petals on each bloom, but just as lovely.

White Rosa Rugosa with bumblebee.

In addition to just one single circle of petals, rugosas have very distincive crinkled leaves… and this one has its very own bumblebee…

White Rosa Rugosa with bumblebee up close and personal.

Bzzzzzzzzz – or is it just ZZzzzzzzzzz? Sometimes the bees really do seem to take a snooze in their favorite flowers!

Friday Flower – Rosa Rugosa aka The Original Rose

If you haven’t already noticed, Oh Best Beloved, I am not a regimented gardener. My tastes run more along the lines of “Zowie! I gotta try growin’ one of those!” which rather destroys any chance of a planned or formal design. When I first found a nursery that would mail-order organic shrubs and trees, what caught my eye was the page that had seedling rugosa roses. It said, “Rosa rugosa is the hardiest rose known, withstanding fifty below temperatures with no damage.” Hello! Now that’s my kind of rose! I bought six, colors “assorted – no choice – but will be pink, red or white.”

When they arrived, they did splendidly, even in our thick clay soil. I was estatic! They grew like gangbusters from spring until early fall. And then, one morning, I looked out the window and…

No bushes. Not one.

Someone, someone with big long furry ears, whiskers, and sizable chompers, had mowed every single rugosa bush flat down to the ground and eaten every scrap, every leaf, bud and cane and even consumed the thousands of tiny sharp sharp thorns.

That was the day I ordered industrial-strength rabbit fencing for my future plantings, something which my gardening friends said I shouldn’t use as it would “spoil” the looks of my garden beds.

Um, didn’t the bunny already do that?!

I also called the nursery, to order more rugosas. To my surprise, the owner laughed and said, “Don’t worry. You don’t need to replace them. They’ve had a chance to establish. You watch. Next spring you’ll have lots of healthy vigorous canes shoot up from the roots.”

He was right.

Each bush is now over three feet in width. If left untrimmed they grow to over six feet in height. They’re completely unfenced, have survived numerous assaults by the bunnies, and are absolutely beloved by the local bumblebees. To my surprise, none of the bushes turned out to have red blooms; two have white roses; one has roses that are a very pale pink, and the others have blooms that are a deep candy-lipstick pink. The rugosas bloom in early summer, with literally hundreds of blossoms on each shrub, and bloom again in successive waves throughout the summer.

If you ever consider growing rugosas, I highly recommend St. Lawrence Nurseries, the nursery that I bought these from, btw. They carry an amazing variety of northern climate fruit trees (apple, cherry, pear and plum) as well as nut and lumber trees, which they will ship bare-root anywhere in the continental United States. They even have disease-resistant American elms, and a variety of native horse chestnut that is hardy in northern climes.

They’re organic growers, but if you’ve shied away in the past from buying organic because of higher prices you needn’t worry. These folks have fantastically competitive prices that beat the socks off of the prices you’ll find at most conventional nurseries.

One warning, if you decide to add these shrubs to your garden and aren’t already an organic gardener. Don’t use a drop of any synthetic pesticide (including insecticides, herbicides and fungicides) of any sort on or near a Rosa Rugosa. Synthetic pesticides are absolutely deadly for these lovely plants!

Pretty In Pink

Pink Buck Rose

I love roses! This bloom is from one of the three new rosebushes we added to our yard this summer. The roses pictured today (above, and in the two images below) are Buck roses. Over eighty different varieties of Buck roses are available, and they’re all beautiful.

What makes Buck roses special? Ah, Oh Best Beloved, now that’s a tale!

Pink Hawkeye Belle Buck Rose

Buck roses were developed by Griffith Buck, Ph.D., a professor of horticulture at Iowa State University. Dr. Buck developed over 80 cultivars of roses which are capable of withstanding temperatures to -20°F and need no pesticides or fungicides to thrive. I bought varieties that are pink, but Buck roses range in colors from white to pink to deep red, and there are bicolor, yellow and apricot shades too.

Pink Buck Rose Quietness

They’re all they were claimed to be, and more. I had scads of blooms (and they’ve bloomed and rebloomed and are still blooming). The fragrance is heavenly – something which has been lost in many modern rose cultivars. They haven’t required anything but water and my homemade compost for fertilizer. And the leaves are glossy and healthy — the bushes don’t have a speck of any rose diseases or fungi, and the bugs have left them alone.

I’m convinced – if you want gorgeous, carefree roses, you can’t find anything better than a Buck!

Garden Walk – Day 4

Our drought broke over this weekend and it’s still raining, so you might want to carry an umbrella with you today as we splash our way through the next set of flowers!

Black Eyed Susans

One of my favorite flowers that opens in late summer here is the Rudbeckia Goldsturm, or Black-eyed Susan. The blooms stay open for weeks, and they’re virtually carefree, which makes them even more loveable!

Wine Delight Daylily

We’re getting a second round of blooming from a daylily that is new to my yard this year, the richly colored Wine Delight. I have over twenty different varieties of daylilies, in colors that range from white to palest pink ice, lemon yellow, orange, deep gold, salmon, a number of different shades of red, maroon, and even some shades of lavendar. Because different daylily cultivars bloom at different times, we have a continuous show of daylily blooms from early spring through autumn.

Yellow Candy Cane Zinnia

The zinnias are continuing to put on a show, from this speckled Candy Cane Zinna to

State Fair Zinnia

this lovely pale yellow State Fair Zinna. New blooms are opening daily, in pinks, whites, reds and purples, making delightful splashes of color.

Yellow Portulaca

Portulaca, or moss roses, fell out of favor decades ago in gardening circles, but I usually grow a container or two of them every year.

Moss roses

Moss roses are unabashedly wild in both their colors and foliage, and definitely not for a gardener who wants neat, trim, orderly plants! My grandfather grew an enormous border of moss roses alongside his driveway, and they always remind me of him.

Pink rugosa rose

In addition to my climbing rose bush, I also have an entire hedge we’ve grown of Rugosa roses. These aren’t named hybrid rugosas – they are the original native rugosas – and mine flower in shades of pink and white. The bunnies love to eat the young canes these roses send out, even though the canes are covered with thousands of needle-sharp thorns. Go figure!

White rugosa rose

The rugosas bloom continously, from early summer through fall, and aren’t susceptible to the diseases that attack hybridized roses. Their fragrance is heavenly, and at times the hedge has literally hundreds of roses blooming at a time. Their foliage is quite unique, with beautiful crinkled leaves that open in palest shades of green and gradually darken.

Garden spider

I neglected, when talking about the garden critters, to mention that we have a thriving population of spiders throughout the yard. This gal has spun a web next to our back door, and I’ve come to greatly admire her markings, which are almost irridescent in the light.

There’s still more to come…