Rosa rubrifolia (Rosa glauca) 'Redleaf Rose'
WHY YOU SHOULD PLANT IT
This iron-clad Zone 3 species rose has a very brief early-June flowering, but it's the foliage - slightly blue with lovely pink edges - that make it a must-have. The hips form quickly and birds adore it. It grows to about one and a half to two metres tall and has graceful arcing canes.
WHERE TO PLANT IT
In full sun or a modest bit of shade. It's not fussy about soil, but it does need early-spring moisture. Always give it a few handfuls of compost or manure a couple of times a year and be sure to mulch it in late autumn. It needs regular pruning, so plant it where it's easily accessible. In spring, cut out all the dead growth. It's thorny, but not horrendously so.
WHAT IT OFFERS
No garden should be without this plant. It has a lovely vase-shaped form, fills gaps beautifully and can't be killed with inept pruning. Keep it to a shape that is useful in its surroundings.
SOURCE AND COST
You should be able to find it in local plant sales or decent nurseries everywhere. At Humber Nurseries (www.gardencentre.com) in Brampton, Ont., it was $18.