A Rose That Was Too Successful

I love Rosa setigera, a June-bearing native rose that is somewhat variable in size, judging by the information I could find online. I was hoping for a medium-sized shrub when I put it in the rain garden in 2017, but it had other ideas. I moved it from the rain garden into the myrtle next to the house in 2020.

This Rosa setigera was moved in March 2020, after it made repeated attempts to cross the sidewalk from the rain garden. Photographed on June 25, 2021.

In 2022, it pushed out further, but I could still get past it with a mower. I pruned, as needed.

Rosa setigera coming into full bloom. Photographed on June 30, 2022.

This year, the plant completely blocked the little strip of lawn between it and the rain garden and ran in the myrtle, parallel to the lawn strip for yards. I decided to prune it back so I could mow. I found stems climbing into the nannyberry seeking, and finding, sunlight. I discovered that it was rooting in several places where it touched the ground. Many of the stems I pulled up had rooted at every node that touched a damp spot. This was getting serious, but I was still thinking I could keep this plant in bounds.

A Rosa setigera stem with roots at three nodes. Photographed on July 17, 2023.

It had three offspring, one of which was blooming in the dense shade of the parent—blooming! The shade included ginger seedlings that were looking quite robust and happy. This is a really aggressive growth pattern.

An offspring that was hiding under the parent plant. It’s a bit leggy, but it still had the wherewithal to bloom. Photographed on July 17, 2023.

I continued to prune. Then I clipped a stem in the back that did not fall to the ground. It was stuck in the basement window!

Rosa setigera stuck in the basement window. Photographed on July 17, 2023.

That’s weird. I checked in the basement. I was not prepared for this. It’s gorgeous; rarely has a decrepit wall in need of cleaning and painting looked so good.

Rosa setigera was blooming in the basement. Photographed on July 17, 2023.

But that spray of flowers was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The pruning job became a removal job. Three hours after I started what I thought would be a fairly substantial pruning job, I finished digging out the extremely woody and robust roots. The entire plant went into the compost bin, and I am now rethinking the volunteer rose’s tenure in my garden. I suspect it’s going to come out too. Roses  are difficult to remove because of their substantial woody root systems and formidable thorns.

Fortunately, there are many other plants in the yard that are attractive to bumblebees and metallic green bees. I will miss the splashy late June display, though.