Garden Photo of the Day

Rose Family Members in Susan’s Garden

A rose by any other name . . .

close up of colorful Ash leaf spirea foliage

Today’s photos are from Susan Warde of St. Paul, Minnesota (Zone 4b).

The rose family (Rosaceae) provides us with numerous beautiful plants besides just the rose species. Here are a few examples from my garden.

close up of pink queen-of-the-prairie flowerThis puff of cotton candy, queen-of-the-prairie (Filipendula rubra, Zones 3–8), was on the property when we bought our house. Its weedy-looking foliage seemed unpromising, but one year it flowered and I moved it to where it now does (all too) well.

shrub with white flowers surrounded by low-growing green plantsBridal wreath (Spirea prunifolia, Zones 5–8) is an old-fashioned favorite. I remember it from the 1940s frothing around my grandmother’s veranda. This specimen anchors the corner of the front yard and performs respectably in spite of getting little sun. The lime-green ferns below it are the native sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis, Zones 4–9).

close up of Red Splendor crabapple in bloomI have three of these ‘Red Splendor’ crabapples (Malus ‘Red Splendor’, Zones 4–8), which I got after admiring them many years ago on the University of Minnesota campus near us. Though glorious in the spring, this cultivar is huge (at least 40 feet tall) and is susceptible to apple scab. I don’t recommend it!

close up of colorful Ash leaf spirea foliageAsh leaf spirea (Sorbaria sorbarifolia, Zones 2–11) bears clusters of tiny white flowers if it gets enough sun, but I grow it for its foliage, which emerges salmon and gold early in the season. It’s a spreader but digs up easily (and even transplants well).

close up of Ladys mantle in bloomLady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis, Zones 3–8) is another member of the rose family with interesting foliage. The leaves feel soft like flannel, and tiny hairs catch water droplets that bead up prettily. The clusters of chartreuse flowers attract pollinators.

sparse shrubs with white and pink flowersServiceberry ‘Autumn Brilliance’ (Amelanchier × grandiflora, Zones 4–9) has white flowers that last, if you’re lucky, about three days. These are followed by blue berries that are edible—unless squirrels or chipmunks or birds get to them first. A graceful small tree with gray bark, it really comes into its own in the fall, as its cultivar name suggests. The burst of pinky-purple is a PJM Rhododendron (Zones 4–8).

close up of white Pearl Bush flowersUnlike the serviceberry’s blossoms, those of pearl bush (Exochorda × macrantha, Zones 3–7) are long lasting, though the fruits are negligible. If you look carefully you can see a few unopened buds, the “pearls” that give this shrub its common name. I believe this particular cultivar is ‘Lotus Moon.’ Bees go crazy for it.

light pink roses next to a yellow irisI have had some true roses, however. Unwilling to bother with the “Minnesota tip” for hybrid teas (you bend the canes over and bury them for the winter), I didn’t begin collecting roses until a fine selection of hardy shrub roses made their appearance, and I acquired quite of few of them.

close up of yellow High Voltage rosesAnother cherished rebloomer was the luscious yellow ‘High Voltage.’ But increasing shade and then the arrival of Japanese beetles in the state made growing roses successfully too challenging for me. The beetles especially loved this rose. I’d see an exquisite blossom begin to unfurl early in the morning, and by midday it would be a mess of shredded and frass-covered petals.

garden arbor with a bright pink rose climbing overI now have only one remaining rose, ‘William Baffin’ (Zones 3–9). It’s a climber (more of a leaner, actually—mine is supported by a wrought-iron arbor). Developed in Canada, it’s one of the hardiest of the Explorer series. Desperate rabbits chew on it during the winter months in spite of its wicked thorns. The first flush of blooms usually occurs before the Japanese beetles emerge.


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  1. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 06/29/2023

    Great selection of hardy plants & shrubs. Thanks for sharing your garden :)

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/29/2023

    Love that bridal wreath. I got cuttings at my mom's about 15 years ago. She got hers from a lady that had them at her home for 40 years.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/29/2023

    Not sure this page is monitored closely but is there anyway to get these in email? I used to get notifications that way but they stopped a year or so ago & though I tried to get them going again nothing worked.

  4. btucker9675 06/29/2023

    Lovely assortment of plants! I have had the worst invasion of Japanese beetles this year than in all the years I've been gardening. I love when people suggest picking them off by hand - that's literally all I'd be doing all day, every day and I still wouldn't get them all. I'm trying BeetleGone this year - fingers crossed!

  5. User avater
    simplesue 06/29/2023

    A beautiful garden! I love the rose on the arbor with the super well built stone path! My favorite kind of garden is like this- full of bushes and trees accents of flowers, interesting foliages!
    I just had to save your photo of the arbor to my Pinterest for inspiration!

  6. User avater
    cynthia2020 06/29/2023

    Susan - I adored your description of the performance of the plants you have. I remember a lovely Spirea prunifolia at my childhood home in NE New Jersey and miss it the bright white of it. I appreciate the tip about the pearl bush and how the blooms can be long-lasting. Finally, I like how you mentioned the Explorer Series - I hope to buy some of those roses when I have my own garden again.

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