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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - January 23, 2016

From: Sequim, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Shrubs
Title: Climbing Roses for the Pacific Northwest
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I'm trying to find out which types of climbing roses may exist in the Pacific Northwest. I live in western Washington, and I have a small yard with several large hedges bordering it. I'm growing hairy honeysuckle on one, trumpet honeysuckle on another, but I would really love to have climbing roses as the main focal point on the central hedge. Are there any that can/do grow in this area that I simply have not found yet? My land is an old dry riverbed and is full of large rocks (some even too big for my Bobcat to pull out), and very sandy is some places. Nearer the hedges, it is moist and fertile, and I'm putting in a small pond along with a fountain near them. If there are native climbing roses here, either dry rocky soil, or moist and well-drained soil is available for them.

ANSWER:

There are four native roses that are listed in the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's Native Plant Database as growing in Washington State. Moist, well-drained soil will probably be a better site for these roses than the dry, rocky soil.

The native roses are...

Rosa gymnocarpa (dwarf rose) From wikipedia, this shrub rose grows up to 2 m (6 ft) tall. The fragrant flowers are flat and open-faced with five petals in most any shade of pink to almost lavender. Its fruit is a red rose hip containing hard tan achenes that contain the seeds. The sepals fall away from the hip earlier than in other species of rose, hence the name baldhip rose.

Rosa nutkana (Nootka rose)  Nootka rose is a 2-10 ft., prickly to nearly unarmed, wild rose with extraordinarily large, solitary (sometimes 2-3 in a cluster), pink flowers at branch ends. The flowers, which can be up to 3 1/2 in. across, are followed by big, purplish, pear-shaped hips. The light-green leaves are pinnately compound. A thorny shrub with pale pink flowers, the largest (often only) thorns in pairs near leaf stalks.

Rosa pisocarpa (cluster rose) From wikipedia, cluster rose is native to western North America from British Columbia to northern California, where it generally grows in moist habitats. It is a shrub sometimes forming a thicket, and growing up to 2.5 meters tall. The stems can be dark red or blackish and are often studded with straight, paired prickles at nodes. The leaves are each made up of several toothed oval leaflets, the terminal leaflet up to 4 centimeters long. The inflorescence is a cyme of up to 10 flowers with pink petals each up to 2 centimeters in length. The fruit is a rose hip about a centimeter wide. The hips are pear- or egg-shaped and borne in clusters, and are decorative in fall and early winter, when they are red or reddish-purple and contrast with yellow foliage. Fall foliage can be yellow or dark red. R. pisocarpa is used in wetland restorations and in native plant landscaping. Its thorny thickets and numerous, persistent hips provide shelter and food for birds and other small wildlife. Deer browse new stems and foliage

Rosa woodsii (Woods' rose) The Wood rose is a much-branched, deciduous shrub, up to 5 ft. tall, often growing in dense thickets. Stems are red and prickled on their lower portions, though not as well-armed as other wild roses. Leaves are pinnately-compound with five to nine leaflets. Pink, five-petalled flowers, 2 in. across, are followed by many orange-red hips. This is a variable species, with a number of varieties occurring throughout the western states.

 

From the Image Gallery


Nootka rose
Rosa nutkana

Nootka rose
Rosa nutkana

Woods' rose
Rosa woodsii

Woods' rose
Rosa woodsii

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