top: Rosa sweginzowii macrocarpa, Rosa sericea pteracantha, Rosa holodonta
above: Cantab, Canary Bird, Californica plena
Many hundreds of species of roses still survive in the wild, and many of them make the finest of garden shrubs. Most are seasonal bloomers; many produce very ornamental, as well as edible fruits; some are notable for their brilliant display of fall foliage color. It is important to note here that any species of plant is composed of a population of individuals which show natural variations. When we list a variety we are offering one of the individuals in that population, sometimes a form that has particularly lovely flowers or is an excellent producer of fruit. For species of roses to survive we must all work to protect their habitats from destruction. A first step in that process is to grow and learn to love one form of that wild rose.
It is difficult to boil down an entire genus into a handful of growth habits, and we stress the fact that these are general habits of growth (left to right, above), which are designed to assist the gardener in deciding where to plant a rose.
- (E.g., Rosa californica) Most common wild roses are rather dense thicket- makers of moderate height. [Spx #1]
- (E.g., Geranium) A number of species that are tall, arching growers, tend to be vase shaped, often leaving room around their “legs” to plant lower companion plants. [Spx #2]
- (E.g., Rosa setigera) Also arching, but rather more broad-spreading and lower than the previous group. [Spx #3]
- (E.g., Rosa cinnamomea) Similar to the wild California rose, but more upright, with densely packed basal canes, also suckering and forming broad thickets. [Spx #4]
- (E.g., Rosa wichurana) Procumbent species, laying their stems along the ground, often to a remarkable distance. [Spx #5]
- (E.g., Rosa brunonii ‘La Mortola’) A wide range of wild roses are tree-climbing ramblers. [Spx #6]
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