This year my prickly rose put on an amazing show (the best one yet). Alberta natives would recognize this as the Alberta Wild Rose. These roses actually grow wild in forests, ditches, alleys – pretty much everywhere. They smell absolutely wonderful, which was originally why I had planted mine, but they also produce rose hips that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. The hips from these particular roses are used in preserving (jams, jellies, syrups), in teas, and for medicinal purposes (treating a sore throat, acting as a natural laxative, preventing urinary tract infections, and treating headaches and dizziness). If you’re lazy like me, you can just leave the hips on the plants and the birds will eat them during the winter.
The only real downsides to this rose is that the blooming time is pretty short and the plants grow extremely tall. Mine is about 8 feet tall now and I am actually considering cutting it down quite drastically in the fall. I had a bit of an adventure last weekend when I decided to tie the branches with some twine and staple that to my fence in an attempt to control it a bit – it is at the back of my yard near the back gate and my husband was being attacked by it every time he would walk by to and from the parking spot in the alley. I made the stupid mistake of not wearing long sleeves or leather gloves because I didn’t realize how painful the branches would be and I also thought it would be a 3 minute job. Wrong. So so wrong. Trust me, wear long, thick sleeves and some leather gloves if you’re going to handle this plant. It really, really hurts. I’m planning to keep the painful branches when I cut it back and throw them onto a raised bed during the winter so the neighborhood cats won’t be tempted to use it as a litter box. And although these grow fairly tall, they do not spread and I haven’t noticed any suckering with mine.
I’ve already said that these roses smell absolutely wonderful, but there really is no way to describe it. This is definitely one of those plants that I smell and immediately think of childhood summers, especially right after it has rained and they’re still damp. Tell me about the plants that give you that reminiscent feeling.