(Species: Rosa Canina - Family: Rosaceae)

Here is a short introduction to roses. To learn more about growing, caring and enjoying roses, please see dedicated Rose Care pages in the Garden Care section

- A guide to selecting roses

- How To Plant Bare-Root Roses and Planting Ground-Cover Roses

- A quick guide to rose fertiliser and plant nutrients

- How to propagate roses?

- How to prune roses?

- Landscaping with roses

- Use-of-roses-and-interesting-rose-facts

...and more


The rose and its origins

The wild rose, commonly referred to as the dog rose or pink stain, is a member of the Rosaceae family, which includes apple, pear, peach, apricot, cherry, strawberry and many other common fruits in its family.  A scrambling climber, this wild deciduous plant is a native of Europe, parts of Africa and Asia. 

It is believed that the name derives from the Celtic word "rhodd" which means "red", and also from the greek word "ροδον".  Its Latin name is also the root of many of the rose’s European names with the meanings: "pink" in Italian, "rose" in French, "rose" in German, "roses" in English and "pink" in Spanish. 

It is believed that the name Dog Rose came into common use because the plants were seen as inferior to their cultivated counterparts, although in medieval times, these roses may have also been used as a treatment for a bite from a rabid dog. 


Seasonality: Roses in flower

A showy bloom, the wild rose is a vigorous grower which has a very thorny stem.   When cultivated, it is often placed in hedgerows, as not only are the delicate blooms decorative but it also performs a more practical function of keeping out unwanted pets and animals thanks to its prickles.  The plant also uses its prickles to help it climb.

The roses can have a simple, semi-double or double corolla which appears during the summer months.  In its simplest form, the wild rose is a 5 petal flower. However, the semi-double can have 7-20 petals and the double will have more than 20 petals.  More often the blooms will be the palest pink, however, they can also have a delicate whitish or even deep pink petal.   

As the plant matures and following the bloom, ovoid red fruits appear which are called rosehips.   Rich in vitamin C, these fruits, which usually appear in autumn, have a variety of uses from lotions and medications to teas and preserves.  Typically, the plant features 5-7 serrated leaves but this can also vary, depending on the species, some having just 3 leaves whilst others have up to 17 leaves.


Tips for producing excellent roses

  • Remove any nutrient zapping old wood.
  • Remove any dead sprigs and also any diseased or old ones branches that have become waek over time. 
  • Only ever make cuts 5-7 mm above a bud at an angle of 45-60 degrees.  This will facilitate the healing process.
  • Always use sharp tools that will make clean cuts and avoid tearing the branches and in doing so, damaging the rose plant. 
  • Scissors are suitable for cutting but on larger branches, use a hacksaw. 
  • Ensure that all tools are clean to avoid the spread of disease. 
  • Cut the stem above a bud facing outward so it has enough light and air and the rose will bloom outward for a more attractive rose plant.


Did you know:

Roses are chosen by many gardeners for their showy, fragrant blooms, however, this versatile plant has uses that extend far beyond its ornamental properties.  Cultivated throughout the ages for both its fruit and flowers, it has a wide variety of uses from perfumes and cosmetics to preserves, confectionary and is extensively used in herbal medicine.

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