dreaming of: rosa glauca, my favorite rose

IAM PLAYING MAKE-BELIEVE AGAIN, pretending it didn’t ice over and then snow again last night for good measure. I’m dreaming of color (not a persistent white-on-white tundra), like the other-worldly blue foliage of my favorite rose, Rosa glauca (above). Want to dream along with me while we wait for spring? Here’s my profile of this beloved plant.

  1. Wendy C says:

    I love the soft, ghostly appearence of this rose, and it is also one of my favourites.
    I use it a lot in my garden designs. It always reminds me of quiet, misty mornings, it has such a presence.

  2. woods diva says:

    More snow and rain on the weather radar here in New England….but as you, dreaming of red buds, forsythia, and witch hazels surely before any signs of the ground appear but the robins are chirping, a sure sign spring is not far behind. Looking forward to meeting you on Saturday at Tower Hill.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Woods Diva. Really looking forward to the Tower Hill event; haven’t been there in awhile and it will be fun to see old friends and make some new ones.

  3. Angie says:

    I think the entire country is dreaming of Spring (I am an island girl so I’m dreaming of Summer). But this winter season has been so unbelievable for everyone, including us here in the South. This rose today is beautiful although I cannot say I have ever seen it up close. My favorite rose is the Huntington Rose because it has an olf world look to it. I love it!

  4. Laurie Brown says:

    I love Rosa glauca. There is just nothing else like that blue and reddish stems and foliage. It looks so good all year!

    Minus 6 degrees F here this morning, so, yeah, I’ve had it with winter.

  5. Karen says:

    Love it! Want to let everyone know (or remind, if you all know this already) that the Rose is the Herb of the Year next year, 2012. I am so excited about this since I (yes, it was me!) was the one who nominated the rose for the honor. The International Herb Association, of which I am a proud member, (iherb.org) is the group that picks the herbs of each year. This year is horseradish…I know, I know. Thank God for Bloody Mary’s -promoting this herb would be much harder for me without alcohol…

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Karen. I laughed when I saw recently that it was horseradish. Mine is about 5 feet across and wide, and that’s with having dug giant hunks out every year for decades. A monster! See you soon, I hope.

  6. Judit says:

    I am dreaming of the beautiful Rosa Glauca too – it’s on my wish list. I love horseradish, but I am not sure it would agree with my stoney clay soil. Oh, and on the subject of missing english rain: surely not! I had enough of it here, thank you! The ground under my boots makes a squelching noise whenever I manage to venture out. Some soil/soul warming sunshine please! The pink Bergenias are flowering in the front border – they do cheer me up at this time of the year. Also, the apple green Hellebores are blooming. Even on a grey day they pop out like highlighter green on a page. Lovely!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Judit. “Soil/soul warming sunshine” definitely called for; you are correct. Bring it on! See you soon again, I hope.

  7. Kathie says:

    This blog and my seed starting is the only thing getting me through this winter. I love this rose, particularly the leaf color, and it is on my list of must-haves this season. I hope I can find it locally, but if not, I will be doing some Internet searching.

  8. Chris A. says:

    I have had this rose in my garden for several years. Near it is a lovely Thalictrum whose airy pink flowers grow right into the rosebush, creating a beautiful contrast with the silver gray leaves of the rose. This and the rugosas I grow are just a few of the workhorses i tend to favor in my garden here in the Berkshires.

    Also, I attended your lecture on the 19th sponsored by the Berkshire Botanical Garden. I want to thank you for re-igniting my gardening passion which had waned over the past few years. When I returned home from Gt. Barrignton, my copy of your book had just arrived in the mail. I read it in one evening.

    I, too, live in an old farm house, so many of your experiences were quite familiar. But don’t we love these places with character and soul?

    I could also relate to many of your inner struggles. Thank you for your honesty. I hope your wonderful book is a great success.

    Chris A.

    p.s. I knew the cat would win in the end. Right in your lap. :)

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Lila. Hundreds of roses! I haven’t seen that in a home garden since Martha’s former place in Connecticut, and her beach place in the Hamptons. I cannot imagine all the work…but wow, what enjoyment you must have.

      Welcome, Chris. Yes, Jack has the upper hand. Never having had a pet of my own, I am far less clever than he is at managing the boundaries of the relationship. Glad to hear you enjoyed the lecture; thank you.

      See you both soon again, I hope.

  9. A. Sanderson says:

    Mmm I love Rosa glauca. I used it in practically every flower arrangement I made last year and was asked about it endlessly. I am particularly taken by how the bottoms of the leaves are bi-toned (is that even a proper descriptor?) and of course its elegant sprawling habit. Plus it survives zone 2b/3a winters no problem! Not many roses you can say that about. Sadly, I’ve moved away for school and will be without my roses this summer but there’s always the Union Square market I guess.
    I broke down and bought the sweetest little tete-a-tetes to give to my friends this weekend (and, ok, a helebore for me…) because spring IS coming. I can’t wait!

  10. Deborah says:

    I have admired the glauca rose in friends’ gardens for a while so when I ran across it at Country Grown Perennials near Walton, NY, I grabbed it. I’ve had it a couple years now and love, love the leaves and the simple pink flowers. Last year mine developed another very ornamental feature, which I researched and identified as mossy rose galls. They resemble clematis seed heads, with the soft red of a Diablo ninebark’s seeds. I cut them off and trashed them, but wonder if I needed to. I read that they’re caused by the larvae of non-stinging cynipid wasps. Aren’t these wasps a good thing for the garden. What do you recommend?

    I also have Therese Bugnet and WIlliam Baffin, roses from the Canadian explorer series. Therese is a love, vigorous and a lovely pink. William Baffin is a more difficult shade of pink, but incredibly vigorous and with lovely hips. I haven’t tried the Knock Out roses yet, but they’ve come out with one this year that I want. Home Run Knock Out is a lovely dark red, great disease resistance, and it just happens to share a name with our youngest dog Homer, whose official name is White Hill’s Home Run. I can’t resist that!

  11. 50sga says:

    I love the old bloom, the Damask Rose. I know it might seem such a ‘typical’ type rose, but I adore this rose for two reasons: I love to grow heritage varieties of all things. And this has such a classic bloom and scent. Second: I like things to do double duty (Such as my Beach Plum roses and their lovely hips for jams) and the Damask rose, which you probably already know, was the main rose grown for rose oil or ‘attar of roses’. This lovely elixir goes from the boudoir to the kitchen. It also is happy to be either be a shrub or a wonderful climber! The intoxicating scent if it is grown over a door onto a roof is pure heaven!

    This rose has been hybridized many times and its origins are quite ancient.

    I love the blue foliage of this rose you have featured. I would love to try it. Do you know how large its fruit is or if any good in cooking/jams?


  12. A. Sanderson says:

    I just went and read your original post and noticed the zone 2 comment. It made me giggle. Gardening there is definitely an exercise in patience. I killed two successive plantings of tenders like basil last year as a result of combining unexpected late snows/frosts and my horrible impatience that comes after 6 months of winter (and it’s not like I don’t know that to plant anything before June is just asking for it… but I can’t help it! Snow on May 28th is kind of unbelievable though, right?). I have a pact with myself that my next garden will be zone 4 or higher.

  13. Barbara Matheney-Raymer says:

    Loved your reunion with Martha and the conversation. I also was reading your blog and gaining insights on how to grow tomatoes this summer. I have also enjoyed your slideshows and your home. My sisters and I adore The Sister Project as well. Did this inspire Martha’s sister show a few weeks ago? By the way, you did a great job of keeping her going while she was away, my hope is that you were thanked and appreciated for doing a great job.

    I hope you do indeed find your peace. My peace comes from being on my knees as well, however I praise and love the Lord Jesus Christ. B

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Barbara. No, can’t claim credit for the sister show. :) Thanks for your kind words on all of it; I worked hard and yes, she was appreciative, I think, and I am glad for that. Many blessings to you.

  14. Shelley Delaney says:

    Hi Margaret,
    I am lucky enough to have purchased a Rosa Glauca from the Broken Arrow plant sale in your driveway early this spring! It bloomed beautifully and now over the past 2 months, the leaves seemed to yellow and fall to the ground. I now have a skimpy umbrella of beautiful leaves on the very top of the bush. It seems there are little red buds of life on the stems so I’m curious if this is normal for this rose tree, as it otherwise looks healthy.
    Thanks, and love The Backyard Parables so far!

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Shelley. My roses defoliate early because I have cedar apple rust here in the area (which affects everything in the rose family including apples, and shadbush or Amelanchier and more). I don’t know if you have that at your place (check that link in the previous sentence). Alternatively, I will say that the first year anything is transplanted, all bets on “normal” behavior are off. Who knows what stress it experienced in the pot, and then in the process of acclimating. So I wouldn’t panic!

  15. Shelley says:

    You are exactly right! I found that weird orange “glob” earlier this year (spring, maybe?) on my yew and have NEVER seen anything like it before. Thanks for helping. Im still learning that I must take good with the bad (as you are teaching me). Thanks for responding. I will do some research.

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