Rosa rugosa 101

Rosa rugosa-1
Rosa rugosa flower

The common name of this popular plant is Salt Spray Rose. The Latin name refers to its wrinkled leaves. Growing wild in the dunes, in commercial landscapes and in home gardens, it would be difficult to visit Nantucket without seeing at least one! They are so widely visible on the island that some have presumed them a native species. In fact, they naturally grow in the sandy coast land areas of Japan, Northern China and Korea. They were introduced to North America from Asia as early as the 1700’s, but more likely in the 1840’s.

These shrubs can be used for a variety of landscape applications. They make a great short hedge, as can be seen along Baxter Road in ‘Sconset. Their tendancy to form colonies lends them very well to mass plantings. They look great in the distance, at a boundary, or up close in a driveway circle. And, as one might imagine, they can do a great job of stabilizing sandy slopes, while tolerating salt spray and wind extremely well. Like other roses, they prefer full sun, and well drained, sandy soils, with some organic matter.

Although Rosa rugosa thrives on neglect in the dunes along our shores, they require some maintenance to look their best in a more structured setting. Pruning is best done when the plants are fully dormant and the leaves have fallen. If you have many to prune, invest in a heavy set of leather gloves. Their tiny spines are notoriously irritating to landscapers and home gardeners alike. To maintain a dense, mounded shape, cut the entire plant to knee-height. This is easily accomplished with hedge trimmers or with loppers and hand pruners. Remove any obviously dead canes at ground level.  Wayward suckers can be lopped off, right next to the mother plant. Rosa rugosa hedges should be left to reach their natural height, by only removing dead branches and giving them a light shaping. During summer, lightly nip any stems that grow toward the lawn.

There is no need to deadhead Rosa rugosa — the edible hips that form just below the spent flowers bring their season of interest well into fall, and provide food for wildlife.

Rosa rugosa is free of most porblems associated with other roses, but there are some pests that use them as a food source. Deer will eat them, especially during their spring flush of growth. Deer sprays are a help to keep the damage to a minimum during the summer.  And a good fence during the shoulder season might be necessary in areas where deer are especially troublesome. Japanese beetles will congregate on Roses off all types and can completely defoliate plants in a matter of days.  Hand-pick and destroy the beetles in the morning or spray them directly with a Spinosad product.

Rosa rugosa is certainly one of Nantucket’s most popular plants. Why not use them in your next project, or try a few in your garden? We offer an ever-changing selection of cultivars and hybrids, from the common to the more uncommon. We would be happy to help you select a variety that suits your taste!

Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’

Weigela florida ‘Alexandra’ sold as ‘Wine and Roses’ under the Proven Winners line of plants is in full bloom here at the Nursery.  If you like drama in the garden, this is the plant for you! The striking combination of rosy pink flowers and deep wine-colored foliage is a great addition to the shrub border or in a large pot.  This Weigela blooms heavily in early summer and will rebloom throughout the summer. 

Deer and drought resistant, with no pest problems to speak of, Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’ is a very low maintenance shrub that packs a punch!

Weigela florida 'Wine and Roses'

Spring Flowering Shrubs

Viburnum 'Summer Snowflake'
Viburnum ‘Summer Snowflake’

Today it feels like Spring has really set in on Nantucket!  ‘Kwanzan’ cherry trees are in full bloom accross the island, giving everyone the feeling that Summer is also right around the corner!  It’s exciting to see perennials and annuals filling up the courtyard, but if your landscape still needs a few more “Bones” it is prime time for planting Spring flowering shrubs.
Early Spring shrubs like Hamamelis vernalis (Witch hazel), Pieris japonica & floribunda (Andromeda), Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape), Spiraea ‘Ogon’ and Forsythia are now giving way to mid spring and early summer bloomers.  The next wave of color will come from Kerria japonica, Prunus maritima (Beach Plum), Azaleas, Rhododendrons and Viburnums like V. x carlcephalum and V. carlesii .
The final days of spring are ushered out with Lilacs.  Syringa vulgaris, the common lilac has stunning flowers with unmatched fragrance.  But don’t discount the smaller-flowered varieties.  Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’ is an excellent landscape plant for Nantucket, resistant to powdery mildew and tolerant of more extreme conditions than others.

Spring Flowering Trees!

The nursery is filled with color as trees burst into flower. There is a wide variety to chose from, but the hues of pink and white predominate this time of year. Cherries, Crabapples, Ornamental Pears and Magnolias are in stock and ready for planting. Should you require a large tree for a special spot now is the time to shop!
Prunus x 'Snofozam' - Snofozam Weeping Cherry
Prunus x ‘Snofozam’ – Snofozam Weeping Cherry
Prunus 'Okame' Clump Form'
Prunus ‘Okame’ – Okame Clump-Form Cherry
Prunus x yedoensis
Prunus x yedoensis – Yoshino Cherry

Spring Flowering Shrubs

Spring on Nantucket has a way of being mostly grey.  Luckily, we have a wide selection of spring flowering trees and shrubs to brighten up the landscape.  With masses of yellow flowers, Forsythia x intermedia is hard to miss in full bloom.  As part of a hedgerow or boundary planting, it’s superb.  It provides color in spring, and great screening in summer due to a dense habit and pleasant green leaves.

If you need something a little smaller, Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’ might be just the ticket.  This three-season performer starts early.  It leafs out before many other shrubs in the landscape, and soon after it’s branches are covered in white flowers.  In summer its willowy, yellow-chartreuse foliage is the main attraction.

So, whether you fall back on an old standard or want to try something new, we have a plant in the yard to fit your space.  And if you don’t see what you want, we would be happy to order it for you!

Spring Digging Season

Malus ‘Donald Wyman’

Digging field grown trees and shrubs is done in the spring, before buds begin to break.  At this time, woody plants are the least susceptible to transplant shock; plants do not tolerate root disturbance at times of peak growth and during warmer weather.  Keep in mind that any trees that tend to bud out early, like crabapples, will have the most limited time-frame of availability.

The majority of our suppliers were affected by the massive amounts of snow that were dumped onto most of the country in February and early March.  For this reason, digging began a little later than in average years. However, the recent warm weather will likely bring the digging season to an early close.  Should you require specific varieties, or sizes for upcoming projects, please let us know as soon as possible.  Once digging has ended, selection is much more limited on large and specialty material.

No Blooms?

Getting Hydrangeas to bloom reliably year to year requires a little bit of horticultural knowledge.  Hydrangea paniculata and arborescens cultivars bloom on wood produced during the current growing season, and can handle severe pruning or winter die-back, and still flower heavily.

Generally, Hydrangea macrophylla cultivars bloom on the previous season’s woody stems.  Severe pruning or winter die-back of these types will remove over-wintering flower buds, sacrificing the current season’s show.

In short, Hydrangea paniculata and arborescens can be pruned to shape and size as you desire without affecting flowers.  However, avoid severe pruning on Hydrangea Macrophylla – the best cultural practice is to remove dead wood and a small portion of the oldest, least productive, stems.  It is not necessary to top Hydrangea macrophylla.  Leave the tips of healthy stems in tact for the maximum number of flowers.   If you must top them, do not remove more than 2.5 – 3′ in height, as most flower buds are formed in the top three feet of these shrubs.

New varieties of Hydrangea macrophylla have been developed that bloom on old wood as well as new growth.  The Endless Summer © series is now widely available and nearly guarantee flowers, even with heavy pruning or die-back.  We carry a wide assortment of hydrangeas to choose from, in large and small sizes, ready to make any garden even more beautiful.  Come in and take a look!

Early Season Planting Is Ideal For Trees & Shrubs

Check out the photos below of stock that will ship to the nursery during the upcoming months.

Late Winter/Early Spring is an ideal time to plant most trees and shrubs. At this point in the season plants are either entirely dormant or largely inactive. Early planting insures minimal transplant stress and allows time for substantial root development prior to the arrival of warm temperatures and drier soil conditions.

Juniperus Virginiana ‘Glauca’ 6′
Hydrangea Macrophylla ‘Nikko Blue 4″
Cryptomeria ‘Yoshino’ 8′
Princeton Elms
Princeton Elms