Today’s photos are by Susan Warde of St. Paul, Minnesota (Zone 4b).
The rose family (Rosaceae) provides us with many beautiful plants apart from rose species. Here are a few examples from my garden.
This puff of cotton candy, Queen of the Prairie (Philippandula rubra, Zones 3–8), was on the property when we bought our house. Its weedy-looking plants were unsightly, but one year it flowered and I moved it to where it is (all) fine now.
Bridal veil (Spiria pernifolia, Zones 5–8) is an old-time favorite. I remember it from the 1940s rattling around my grandmother’s porch. This specimen anchors the corner of the front yard and performs respectably in low sun. Below that are the lime green ferns that are native sensitive ferns. (Onoclea sensibilis, Zones 4-9).
I have three of these ‘Red Splendor’ crabapples. (Mals ‘Red Splendor’, zones 4–8), which I found on the University of Minnesota campus near us after admiring them several years ago. Although spectacular in spring, this cultivar is very large (at least 40 feet tall) and susceptible to apple scab. I do not recommend it!
Ash-leaf spirea (Sorbaria sorbarifolia, Zones 2-11) has clusters of small white flowers if it gets enough sun, but I grow it for its foliage, which is salmon and gold early in the season. It is a spreader but digs up easily (and even transplants well).
Lady’s Cloak (Alcamila Molise, Zones 3–8) is another member of the rose family that has interesting plants. The leaves feel as soft as flannel, and the tiny hairs catch water droplets that float up beautifully. Chartreuse flower clusters attract pollinators.
Serviceberry ‘Autumn Glow’ (Amelanchier × Grandflora, Zones 4-9) have white flowers that persist, about three if you’re lucky Day. These are followed by blue berries that are edible—unless squirrels or chipmunks or birds get to them first. A beautiful little tree with gray bark, it really comes into its own in autumn, as its cultivar name suggests. A pinkish-purple burst is a PJM. Rhododendron (Zones 4-8).
Unlike serviceberry flowers, those of pearl bushes (Exochorda × Macrantha, Zones 3-7) are long-lived, although fruiting is negligible. If you look closely, you’ll see some unopened buds, the “pearls” that give this shrub its common name. I believe this is a special kind of ‘Lotus Moon’. Bees go crazy for it.
However, I have found some real roses. Not willing to bother with the “Minnesota tip” for hybrid teas (you twist the canes and bury them for the winter), I didn’t start collecting roses until hardy bush roses. A better choice doesn’t come across, and I got plenty. A few of them
Another favorite rebloomer was the cheerful yellow ‘High Voltage’. But growing shade and then the arrival of Japanese beetles in the state made it very difficult for me to grow roses successfully. Beetles were especially fond of this rose. I would see a gorgeous flower start to bloom in the early morning, and by noon it would be a mess of mutilated and weed-covered petals.
I only have one rose left now, ‘William Baffin’ (zones 3-9). It’s a climber (more slender, actually – mine is supported by an iron arbor). Manufactured in Canada, it is one of the toughest in the Explorer series. Desperate rabbits chew on it during the winter months despite its wicked thorns. The first appearance of flowers usually precedes the emergence of Japanese beetles.
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