And fare thee weel, my only Luve,
And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.
Further west, Rosa blanda is the pink-fading-to-white-flowered climbing shrub usually called “Prairie Rose”. It’s native from Ontario down into Texas, and west to the Rockies.
More commonly seen are two wild roses that are used extensively in landscaping in North America.
From the Rockies through the Cascades, a very hardy favorite is Rosa woodsii, or “Wood’s Wild Rose”. Along the upper Pacific coast from Alaska down into California, a famous wild rose is Rosa nutkana, known as “The Nootka Rose.” And of course, there is a Rosa californica, native west of the Sierra Nevada. All these westerners are pink. There are others, and every region has it’s favorite.
This is the tough, thorny shrub with the deeply-veined dark green leaves. If they’re in flower (heavily in June), you’ll see both red and white types, and in late summer, the famous rugosa apple-shaped hips are quite showy. These beautiful shrubs are so tough, they’re grown everywhere from fancy rose gardens to grocery store parking lots. The rugosas are native to the Far East, and neither salt spray nor bitter cold hurts them a bit. In fact they will grow almost anywhere with sun, from northern Canada to our southern beaches.
After all, Emily Bronte wrote, “Love is like the wild rose.” And Robert Burns did not write his most famous love poem about some gaudy, man-made, orange and pink creation, but stated clearly and simply, “My love is like a red, red rose.” (Read the famous Robert Burns poem below). But it was surely Gertrude Stein who summed it up best, with her her classic line about the rose’s incomparable beauty: A rose is a rose is a rose.” She did not write “A rose is a rose is a bi-colored hybrid.”
So today, “shrub roses” like Carefree Beauty, Carefree Delight, Chuckles, and the one actually named “Nearly Wild” (photo at right) all offer the loveliness and low-maintenance of wild roses with the added qualities of incredible cold hardiness plus the magic of repeat bloom. Other popular “carefree” roses includs the famous “Bonica” and more recently, the “Knock Out” series. They are some of the most carefree roses available, but they don’t have the classic 5-petaled “wild rose” bloom.
If your Aunt Sarah, who knew her plants, told you that wild rose at the farm was a “Pasture Rose”, that’s fine, but don’t expect anyone else to know what that means. Pasture Rose, Prairie Rose, Wild Rose, Dog Rose, Eglantine, Sweetbriar, and Scotch Briar are just a few of the very common names for wild roses that mean different things in different places. (Probably ten different species are called “Pasture Rose” in various parts of the country.)
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:
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Cut each rose hip open carefully with a knife and dig out the seeds, again placing them in containers with the name of the rose bush they came from. Once the seeds have all been removed from the rose hips, rinse the seeds off to remove any of the pulp from the rose hips still on them.
The rose hips are typically collected in late summer or fall once they have ripened. Some of the rose hips turn red, yellow or orange to help tell us when they have ripened. Be sure to place the rose hips in well marked, separate containers when harvesting them so it is easy to tell which rose they came from. Knowing which rose bush the rose hips and rose seeds came from can be very important when the new rose seedlings come forth so that you know the variety of the parent rose. Once all of the rose hips have been harvested, it is time to process the seeds in them.
Once a rose bush has bloomed and the bloom visited by one of natures’ pollinators, or perhaps even the gardener attempting his or her own controlled breeding program, the area directly at the base of the rose bloom, called the ovary, will swell as the ovule (where the seeds are formed) begins the formation of the rose seeds. This area is referred to as the rose hip, also known as the fruit of the rose. The rose hips are where the rose seeds are contained.
Those that are harvested to grow a new rose bush have now begun the process known as rose propagation from seed.
With that, you are done harvesting rose seeds. You can store your rose bush seeds in a cool, dry place for a short period of time or start right away with preparing the seeds and growing roses from seed.
For harvesting rose seeds, professional rose breeders or hybridizers control what pollen they want used to pollinate a specific rose bloom. By controlling the pollen used in the pollination process, they will know exactly who the parents of a new rose bush are. Out in our gardens we typically have no real clue as to whom both parents are since the bees or wasps do most of the pollinating for us. In some cases, the rose may pollinate itself. But when we know how to get seeds from a rose, we can then grow the rose seed and enjoy the delightful surprise that Mother Nature has created for us.
Not all blooms will form rose hips and many are likely deadheaded before the rose hips can truly form up. Not doing any deadheading of the old rose blooms will allow the rose hips to form, which can then be harvested either to use the seeds inside to grow a new rose bush of your own or are used by some to make various delights, such as rose hip jelly.
By Stan V. Griep
American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian – Rocky Mountain District
Learning how to get seeds from roses can be fun and easy.
When we know how to get seeds from a rose, we can then grow it and enjoy the delightful surprise that Mother Nature has created for us. Read this article to learn how to get seeds from roses.