Hip hip hooray

80 years old and this garden favourite still has decent hips. All hail 'Geranium', a rose with long-lasting appeal

Since the Rose Revolution Garden was retired in 2010 to make way for the Bramall Learning Centre and Winter Walk landscape, roses have had little presence here at Harlow Carr. The few roses that remain can be found in the Scented Garden, in front of the Learning Centre and on the Main Borders.

rosa geranium moyesii hybridRosa 'Geranium' is one of the best known of the moyesii hybrids. In the main borders it provides evergreen structure and seasonal colour.

This vigorous, deciduous shrub rose, 2.5 x 1.5m (8 x 5ft) has strong, arching growth and attractive dark green foliage. In early summer it is covered in showy, deep crimson single flowers, to 6cm (2½in) diameter, surrounding prominent gold stamens, which cover the petals with pollen.

As late summer approaches the flowers shrivel revealing striking orange-red flagon-shaped fruits or hips, which remain on the plant until January, providing vibrant colour long into winter.

In September, it contrasts well with its neighbours – the moody blue Aconitum carmichaelii ‘Arendsii’, the electric blue Symphyotrichum, the fragrant racemes of Actaea simplex and the stately Leucanthemum serotina.

Rosa 'Geranium'The rose originates from western China, was first discovered in 1890 and introduced into cultivation from 1894. This particular cultivar is a selection of R. moyesii raised at RHS Garden Wisley. The fact it is still in cultivation more than 80 years after it was first selected is a testament to the garden-worthiness of this AGM-winning rose.

This rose prefers moderately fertile, humus-rich soil, and is tolerant of temperatures as low as -20°C (-4°F). It is very low maintenance and relatively disease free. Shrub roses flower on old wood so a light yearly pruning in the late winter (February or March) will encourage vigour, and prevent growth from becoming too leggy. 

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