Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wingthorn Rose; my favorite plant in the garden this week…

Most of last week was a complete washout, it was cold (record cold high temp of 50F) and very wet (record rainfall of 1.19” both occurring on Wed the 22nd). The week saw more rain than we typically get the entire month (normal for the month is 2.47” and as of the now we’re at 4.71”). So much for the glorious warm and dry beginning to May! Because of the weather I spent too much time inside, which no doubt is why I’m featuring the Wingthorn Rose (Rosa sericea ssp. omeiensis f. pteracantha) as my favorite plant in the garden this week; it’s right outside our front door…

I usually keep the wooden door open during the day, so I can enjoy the extra light and garden views allowed by the glass security door.

I love this entire combination of plants and colors…

But it’s the bright red thorns, glowing as if on fire even on the darkest days, which steal the show.

I keep my plant small and colorful by cutting it back hard in the early spring; I have no room for something that can get 10ft high and 8ft wide. Besides the bright red new growth is why I have this plant in my garden. The thorns turn brown over the winter and I’m happy to see them go. This year I was a little concerned I’d cut it back too hard as it took forever for the new growth to get started, but thankfully that wasn’t the case.

The flowers are simple, small, and lightly fragrant. Usually by now it’s blooming but there isn't even a bud (due to the extreme cutting back perhaps?), this photo is from last year.

Plant lust lists the Wingthorn Rose at 9 nurseries, 6 of which do mail order so you too can have this beauty in your garden! Here are a couple excerpts from my favorite descriptions:

Normally thorns are not such a good deal but the new thorns on this rose are broadly winged and bright red and absolutely glow liked stained glass with the sun shining through them. Same effect as going to church. Single white flowers.” – Far Reaches Farm

when backlit, the ostentatious thorns glow blood red the whole length of the stem” – Annie’s Annuals & Perennials

The stats:
  • Deciduous shrub
  • Full sun, average soil, regular water
  • Hardy in USDA zones 5b – 9b
  • Left to it's own devices it can reach 8-10 ft tall, 7-8 ft wide
  • White flowers in the spring, said to get red hips but I have yet to see any

Those two straight red stems, in case you're wondering, are coming up from the Hesperaloe parviflora next to the rose. Since three of my five hesperaloe are going to bloom this year I have a feeling I'll be talking about them in the near future...

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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