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.

41 comments:

  1. That is one stunning rose! I can see why you leave your front door open.

    Send me some of your rain! Our total for the entire water year (July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013) has only been 15". You got a third of that in one month!

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    1. Oh you know I wish I could! They're saying our May rain total was greater than Feb, March and April combined so I suppose I shouldn't complain too much. We had some catching up to do.

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  2. An undeniably beautiful plant! Funny enough I though of you this morning when I caught glance of our wingthorn rose as it was flowering for us for the first time.

    Your rose looks so much different (and better) than the one we've got and I like the habit you have trimmed it to as well.

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    1. It's nice to be thought of in relation to this plant! can't take any credit for the habit, it's done that itself (well except for the cutting it back part. Right now the thorns are glowing with the rising sun...beautiful!

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  3. Both the rose and the planting as a whole look really awesome. I planted a Hesperaloe parviflora last summer and it seems to have made it through the winter without any damage. I wonder if it will do anything this year.

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    1. Yay! I hope it does. Mine have had good years and bad years but this one seems especially good.

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  4. Shoot, now I want one!

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    1. Your comment goes perfectly with your avatar!

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  5. Wow, that is a seriously scary plant. Perfect for the danger garden. I think you'll enjoy your Fine Line as well!

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  6. That is one bold and fantastic plant. What a beauty. I've never heard of that before or seen it offered for sale anywhere around here. Would love to have that in my shrub border in front of my house.

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    1. You should probably order one!

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  7. Love it! The added bonus is that you can skip church if you have this plant, right! Yours is situated perfectly for enjoyment from your front door!

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    1. I loved Kelly's comparison and yes it is nice that the rose brings a little church into my life...since I'm not getting it any other way.

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  8. It looks great this year (and it looked great last year, too!) How hard is "cut back hard"? - to 3", 6"? I'm thinking about this as a candidate for the Overlook Hose gardens...

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    1. There is a knobby mass (that's horticultural term right?)at the base and I just cut it back to that, maybe 4" from the ground? The branches grow off it that. There have been a couple non-winged branches shoot up but I do away with those right away.

      Have you seen the one on the NW corner of Killingsworth in from of the Chapel Pub? That was my first and it's gorgeous. Kept in check with a yearly cut back.

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  9. That would be "Overlook HOUSE gardens". Sheesh.

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    1. Ya the "hose" gardens would require a totally different plant.

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  10. I think your approach is best...definitely at it's best as a cut-back shrub :-)

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    1. (plus then there is more room for other plants!)

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  11. This is a plant that can actually look quite drab if left to its own devices. Mad pruners rejoice! Hmmm...looks like R needs one of these.

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  12. I'm always in favor of a hard cut back

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    1. And your gorgeous Acacia is proof.

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  13. wow I never have seen this its so interesting

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  14. What an interesting plant. I've never heard of nor seen it before.

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  15. I love the contrast in color and texture between the rose and the grass behind it. Well played!

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    1. Why thank you! Total accident but it works well.

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  16. ok I was looking at this plant thinking "what a pretty plant" till I realized these are thorns...now I really don't know what to think... I can really say I was shocked. But it looks kind of pretty, from the distance :D

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    1. Oh come on a big ol'thorn now and then is a good thing!

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  17. That's pretty fabulous. I love that bold color. BTW, what is the blue yucca to the left of the wingthorn?

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    1. It's a Dasylirion wheeleri, I know...much smaller than you grow them down in Texas but pretty exciting for a PNW'er!

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  18. Ah, I see it now. I should have recognized it by the teeth along the leaf edges.

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    1. Yes but I's also probably kind of shocking to see one so small...

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  19. Okay, I'm jealous. I've always wanted one of these. I have no place for one, but still want it.
    If you don't mind some nit-picking, the accepted name is Rosa omeiensis forma pteracantha.
    Roses don't have thorns; they have prickles. A thorn is a modified branch; a prickle is an outgrowth of the outer surface of a stem. (A spine is a modified leaf.) And these are easily the coolest of any roses anywhere.

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    1. Ah come on...I see bare soil in photos of your garden!

      I never mine nit-picking of this variety! The name I've used is simply what was on the tag and I know these things are always changing. Prickles however, I just don't think I can get behind that one. It sounds like something a kid would say...I'll try.

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    2. I was just having a Sheldon Cooper Moment....
      The bare soil in my garden is for effect.

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    3. But those moments are part of why we all love you! At least you can spell. I type "mine" when I should type "mind"...pathetic!

      Bare soil is evil and must be covered...ASAP.

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  20. I love the combination of the rose thorns and leaves with the flowers and leaves of t kinophia

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