Rosa gymnocarpa

24 May

With its small leaves, airy branching structure, and diminutive dime to knuckle sized flowers, this is not the showiest rose on the planted. It is, however, an excellent native for wildlife habitat. The flowers, often amazingly fragrant for such a small rose, attract bees of all kinds but are especially beloved of bumbles. On any kind of dry day, even in cloudy cool conditions, these will be buzzing with bees.

Usually you will see it on the edge of a woodland, or just inside a bright open forest. It will take some shade in the garden, but for best flowering prefers at least some sun, particularly late afternoon sun. Full sun is often a little harsh for it, but if the roots are shaded and it doesn’t get too awfully dry, it will do well in full sun too.

Anything from regular garden soils to slightly sandy loams will work for soil. Drought tolerant once established too, though it doesn’t particularly do well with wet feet. Doesn’t need much in the way of fertilizer either, a nice mulch of leaves in the fall will be more than sufficient to keep it happy the next year.

These look great with an evergreen like sword fern or salal underneath them. They tend to grow up into a leggy vase shaped shrub. Hard pruning encourages them to spread out by root runners, so I tend to avoid pruning unless really necessary, and when I can I will prune a little at a time over a couple of weeks till I get the effect I want.

Ours seems to be the preferred hang out for the hummingbirds. They will sit in it watching out from its airy loosely fountain like branches, either high where they can be seen for the more dominant birds, or in low for the more timid ones.

My original plant was from a cutting taken from a plant direct across the street. I consider it not just native, but natural to the property, which is something few of my native plants can claim.

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