rosa woodsii fendleri
One of the nice things about being a random gardener is that one can change one's mind - every week, every year, every day - about favourites. So what is my favourite rose? Aha! That's easy. At this very moment, late spring 2020, it's Rosa Woodsii fenderli.
A rose with attitude..
And why is this? Because I love its simplicity and personality. It boldly spreads all over my path and leans all over the neighbours, pushing itself this way and that. Some might consider this undesirable, but I adore a rose with attitude. OK, so I've had to shift the path a couple of times, and dig out a couple of squashed plants, but this hasn't been a problem.
Back in the day, I bought this rose in an online auction - it was still stuck in its planter bag, and very unhappy. Alas, it was still unhappy in my garden some years later - I'd planted it in a very tough position. It had hardly grown at all.
In the winter of 2018 I was creating the Hump Garden and suddenly had lots of sunny space to fill. So I dug out the sad Rosa Woodsii (lucky for me there was still a label attached) and popped it into the newly manured soil. Wow! It didn't take long before this rose showed me what it was meant to do.
Rosa Woodsii Fendleri
You see, it's a species rose, a wild thing. And it was meant to grow, grow, and grow some more - throwing out long, arching canes. It flowers once, starting in late spring, with small to medium sized single blooms, and beautiful bright red hips from autumn on.
rosa woodsii fendleri hips
To quote the David Austin website, wild roses are 'notable for the elegance of their growth, their dainty foliage and the simple beauty of their single flowers'. Rosa Woodsii might be more robust than elegant, but its wildness has a certain charm. The bees love it, and that's one of the best recommendations a plant can have in my garden.