The last roses of autumn have finished flowering and we look to their fruits to provide interest in our gardens. In addition to bearing flowers, some roses also have attractive foliage and hips, so they really earn their keep in beds and borders. Hips look especially attractive when covered with frost or when lit by low autumn sunlight and will provide interest for several weeks, also attracting birds into the garden.
I have already sung the praises of the rugosa group of roses in these pages. They are generally healthy, disease resistant roses that look after themselves. All have fragrant flowers and their vigorous suckering habit makes them excellent for informal hedges which only need minimal pruning.
Amongst the best are the bright pink Rosa rugosa, its white flowered form ‘Alba’ and the pale pink ‘Fru Dagmar Hastrup’. All three produce flowers throughout the summer and into early autumn, followed by bright red hips which resemble small tomatoes. Height and spread varies, but are usually around 1.5 to 2metres/5ft to 6ft 6ins.; Fru Dagmar is lower growing at 4ft/1.2metres. For hips, the pick of the bunch is the variety ‘Scabrosa’, which has larger blooms, leaves and hips than Rosa rugosa.