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Shrub roses - the old garden rose bushes - have jumped a fair bit in the popularity stakes of late, as gardeners realise just how versatile they can be.  many of them have very attractive foliage - and the wonderful autumn rose hips. Their lack of popularity stemmed from their size and relative short flowering period - just once!

Shrub roses are only for large gardens, is an excuse I often here when I suggest that a few should be planted in the garden. Not so! There are several smaller  types that have been introduced these past few years which are suitable for most garden sizes.

True, the older species - often having to be grown up a frame - are for the larger gardens, but some choice species are suitable for those with smaller gardens.

Rosa Canarybird A few shrub roses that will stay under the 4ft 1.2m limit are Yesterday, Saga, and Frank Naylor. Rosa English Garden - lives up to its name - has a tight rosette flower, deep buff yellow, but fading a pinkish color in the older flowers. Nice sweet scent, butt not to heady.

A favourite is Canarybird, and whilst this can get a little out of hand, it can also be kept in check by growing it as weeping standard - for which you will need a 'mushroom' frame!

The flowers are brightest golden yellow - especially if grown in light shade, and are spread out along arching branches.

Rosa xanthina Canarybird is not a repeat flowering rose. Just the one splash of colour in spring. It is however, a head-turner when it is in flower.

Rose Hips

Rosa moyesii GeraniumFor Roses with spectacular hips in the autumn, look no further than the Rosa rugosa types - mainly pink or white flowers. Superb as a lax hedge, and a great feeding place for the blackbird once the cherry-like hips are available. Some of the Rosa rugosa types flower twice - the hips from the first flowers blending in well with the later flush of flowers.

For the purpose of rose hips, then the shrub rose, Rosa moyesii would have a place in any garden if mine - even though it gets a bit rampant. Rosa moyesii Geranium, has singe bright red flowers. which are followed by yellow - turning orange -hips that hang down from the branches in autumn. They often hang down 5cm or 2 in in old money! It can be kept to around 2m high - though it is compact in habit.

As a hedge, then the shrub roses have no equal. Rosa rugosa every time!


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