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Another Wild Rose

April 11th 2023
*** Rosa sericea ssp. omeiensis f. pteracantha ***
(another wild rose)
One of the most treasured new plants of our garden at Greens Garden. We had only ever seen the pictures. We could not believe that there was such a unique rose out there, with the most spectacular display of thorns. And even more so, since it exists, and is readily available from rose suppliers throughout the UK, how come you can't ever see it growing in people's garden? Surely we can't be the only ones charmed by the size and colour of its defence system! But then maybe it is difficult to grow it? Anyway, we decided to give it a shot and find out for ourselves.
It arrived in our garden towards the end of last winter in the form of 3 dry sticks on a wee bundle of bare roots. The dry sticks though, they didn't have thorns growing on them, they looked as if they were made of thorns! Silver-bronze in colour, they gave a clear clue of what we could expect from the new growth. The start was slow. Tiny red buds appeared shortly after planting and it took a few weeks for them to open up to give start to growth of leaves and new branches. Maybe also due to the fact that our garden was still getting battered by the freezing cold and salty gales until the winter weakened.
The first thorns were nothing out of the ordinary, nothing we wouldn't have seen on other roses before. So at first, we got to admire the clusters of tiny leaves, growing in uniform, neat formations. Quite cute! The growth of the rose then got into a faster gear towards the first half of summer. As the old, silvery wood began disappearing under the new foliage, we spotted a branch growing a bit faster then the rest, sticking out of the 'nest'. That's when we knew we had hit jackpot with getting this rose for our garden! That branch, just like what we had seen in the catalogue photos, had bright red colour shining from underneath the tiny leaves. We went down on our knees for a closer look. From a different angle, we spotted them. Thorns in the shape of angels' wings, wide, blood red, glossy. Almost connected into continuous lines. Shining like Chinese lanterns when viewed against direct sunlight. Thick, with a plastic feel to them on the touch. Yep, we got ourselves a true gem to grow in our garden.
We didn't have any flowers in the first season. They should come in May next year though, and they should also be rather special. Tiny and white, but the only rose flowers with only 4 petals each. And, since it's a wild rose, the flowers should be followed by small, red hips, something for the birds to feed on when it gets cold and miserable for the long months of Orkney winter.
Our rose, after the first season, is about 30cm high and maybe 50-60cm wide. It says on Trevor White Roses where we got it from, that the mature height is almost 3 meters! We can barely imagine the display of thorns, flowers and hips on a plant of that size. There is one thing for sure - we can't wait!
Biggings road
KW17 2QG