If a poll were taken to determine the gardener’s favourite rose, the red-leaf rose would likely not come up as #1.
But Rosa glauca (also Rosa rubrifolia) is a definite favourite in the northern garden.
For one thing, it’s extremely hardy. It can handle Yukon winters where temperatures can plummet to –45 C.
One of the first roses to bloom in the spring, it continues to bloom during the whole summer. And the single blooms provide a beautiful contrast to the unique blue/green leaves.
The colour of the leaves gives this rose its name. Although it is commonly referred to as a ‘red-leaf’ rose (rubrifolia), the leaves are more accurately a bluish colour (glauca), hence the dual taxonomy.
The rose is native to the mountain regions of southern Europe, and shares the appearance of a wild rose. Although wild roses tend to get out of control by root migration, this rose seems to behave well. A 1923 hybrid of Rosa glauca X Rosa rugosa has produced the Rosa glauca ‘Carmenetta’ which displays a slightly more pinkish single blossom, and the leaves seem to take on a more rugosa-like characteristic.
We’re delighted to have the red-leaf rose in our garden.