Simply The Best Natives-Swamp Rose

DSCN8629“He who cultivates a garden and brings to perfection flowers and fruits, cultivates and advances at the same time his own nature.”  ~Ezra Weston



When I saw this beautiful rose in late spring, I was so excited as it has taken a few years for it to finally bloom.  This is the lovely native plant, Rosa palustris, better known as Swamp Rose.  It is of course part of the Rose Family (Rosaceae).  The fragrant, pink, single roses are a bit short-lived, but it blooms throughout the later part of spring and into early summer (for 1-2 months), earlier than my non-native roses.

This tall shrub rose reaches heights of 8 feet with numerous branches and very thorny stems.  I grow one of mine in a pyramid trellis even though it doesn’t need the support.  It just looks like a climbing rose to me.

These beautiful native roses love wet, swampy/boggy areas and wet prairies as well as marshes and ditches.  You can find it growing on the shores of lakes and ponds too.  It is native to the Eastern half of North America from Nova Scotia down to Florida and Arkansas and from New England to Minnesota.

As I profile this wonderful native plant, I am linking in with Gail@Clay and Limestone for her Wildflower Wednesday meme.


And I am joining forces once again this year with a local native plant nursery, Amanda’s Garden, to purchase native plants for my garden.  The owner, Ellen Folts, specializes in woodland, prairie and wetland native perennials.  Check out her wonderful 2015 Spring Catalog to see which natives Ellen is selling this year.




Growing Conditions

 DSCN6758The Swamp Rose is hardy from zone 4 to 9.  It will grow in full or partial sun, but the less sunlight the fewer flowers the plant will produce.  And it must have wet to moist richer soil, so I do amend my clay with compost.  If you have areas that flood in the spring this rose will love it.  The one I have in the Bog Garden will be moved and well placed to take advantage of the moist areas in the garden.  While it likes it wet, it does not like to be in standing water all the time.  

This rose is usually not susceptible to the many diseases or insect pests that can be found on other roses especially hybrid roses.  And in the three years I have grown this plant, I have noticed no problems.  Give this rose good air circulation, and you can reduce foliar diseases and insect pests. 

The best time to prune this rose is in late winter, which means I need to get out in early spring once DSCN6361the snow melts. After three years, my main rose has spread by suckers.  And I am thinking of moving some of the suckers to other areas.  But I will choose the new spots carefully as this plant can naturalize easily.

Besides the great flowers, I love the look of the pea-sized red hips that form in fall.

You can propagate the Swamp Rose by stem cuttings or divisions. Softwood cuttings need to be treated with a growth hormone. Swamp Rose can also be planted by seeds extracted from the hips as soon as they are ripe.  Plant the seed in the cold fall to let it overwinter.




Benefits to Wildlife 

Both the flowers and hips benefit wildlife.  The flowers are cross-pollinated primarily by bumblebees and other long-tongued bees.  Many other insects feed on the pollen and foliage.  And butterflies use this rose DSCN6757as a nectar source too.

Cedar Waxwings, and other berry eating songbirds, like the  rose hips as do small rodents like the White-Footed Mouse.  

And the White-Tailed Deer are said to browse the twigs and leaves keeping them pruned. I have not seen the deer browsing my native rose, preferring my hybrid roses instead.

There are also many birds that like to make their nests in tall roses like the Swamp Rose.  These include the Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, Yellow Warbler, and Cardinal.  I would love to see any of these birds making nests in my Swamp Roses.





The Swamp Rose is perfect for any poorly draining area in your garden including rain gardens.  And DSCN7096plant them on the fringe of bog and water gardens.  Perhaps one near my pond might be a great addition too.

This rose is also lovely in fall as you can see here and in the collage at the end of the post.

And of course birds, butterflies and pollinators love it too. 




Folklore and Tales 

Native Americans tribes were said to use the bark and roots of this rose to combat dysentery.  

DSCN9434Roses in general are also said to be a cure for toothaches, earaches, stomach problems and nosebleeds.

Archeologists recently found the fossilized remains of an unidentified wild rose that are said to be over 40 million years old.  The remains were found in Colorado.

In the seventeenth century, French explorer Samuel de Champlain brought the first cultivated roses to North America.  I wonder if he ever saw the native Swamp Rose.

The world’s oldest living rose, thought to be 1,000 years old, is on the wall of the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany.  

The rose is the State Flower of New York.  There is not one rose specified for this honor, but I like to think our native Swamp Rose should hold this distinction.

In the Language of Flowers a wild rose stands for Simplicity.  The pink rose represents Friendship, Grace, and Admiration.


swamp rose collage 

Do you grow Swamp Rose or any roses?  What is your favorite rose?



In A Vase On Monday 



As winter continues here in central New York State, I have more indoor bulbs blooming.  The big question now is how do I create a vase with another Hippeastrum bulb.  This one is ‘Red Lion’.  And the way this winter is going, most of my future vases will be with more Hippeastrum bulbs.




red amaryllis collage

The bulb comes up not looking red at all, but more coral and variegated.  As it opens, it turns redder until it is a brilliant crimson red.  I cut this when all four blooms had come out and were just opening.  

I decided to pair the flowers with the Chinese Evergreen or Aglaonema ‘Emerald Beauty’ that I used a few weeks ago.  I am glad many of the greens, I used in other vases recently, are staying fresh as I will need to reuse them given the unavailability of any greens in the garden buried in snow.




red amaryllis collage2

You can see I also added the Barberry branches (Berberis thunbergii ‘Helmond Pillar’) I also used a couple of weeks ago.  It was not easy getting the thorns past the flower blooms, but the effort was worth it.

I do love how it looks, where I finally placed it, on an antique sewing machine with a few props; a candle and a cherished picture of my mom and her sisters.

I am joining in with a few memes this week:  Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles and Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.



Next up on the blog:  

On Friday, it will be time for another Seasonal Celebrations.  And next Monday, I will have another Gardens Eye Journal.  

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her new blog just for Nature Notes.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday. 



I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2015.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.


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