The far end of my garden is green. A green climber against a green fence. In January, a yellow flowered witch hazel stands out against the green background, and in June, pink flowers show up amongst the foliage. When the pink starts to appear, I know it’s summer.
The flowers belong to Rosa ‘Complicata.’ It’s an old rose whose origins are lost. Its parents are unknown, although they are thought to be R. canina, the dog rose, and an unknown gallica. It has the character of a wild rose, it’s tough, it will tolerate some shade, the foliage is disease free, it will take poor conditions, and still it covers itself in large rose pink, single flowers which are lightly scented. These are followed by red hips in the autumn.
Left to its own devices, it makes a bush five feet tall (or taller if left to clamber into a tree) and about six across. But I train it against the green fence, cutting out the old canes in January and tying the new ones in to supporting wires . By tying them almost horizontally, they carry more flowers, a trick you can use with any trained shrub. Rosa ‘Complicata’ only flowers once, but for a month or so, I can enjoy the pink in the greenery at the end of the garden.