Tribute to Rosa Rugosa

I grew up one street from the Back Shore.

Although my mother might disagree, I’d say I was a bratty teen who didn’t appreciate the natural beauty that was steps from my doorfront. Part of that beauty was driving every single day along the Back Shore to get wherever we were going. If we left the house it was inevitable that we would be driving along the beautiful coastline that is the Back Shore.

It wasn’t until I went to college that I began to understand how blessed I was and how beautiful a place Gloucester is. Sure it is flawed in many ways but there is no place I’d rather be in the late spring, summer and early fall. Looking back it seems so crazy that I could have taken it all for granted but once you move away for a little stint and come home then you understand how lucky you were to call Gloucester your home.

Getting back to the Tribute To Rosa Rugosa-

First read this plant profile from

There is nothing more beautiful than the perfection of a rose in mid-summer. The glorious fragrance wafting up from perfectly formed petals make it clear why this is the flower of choice for many people. Unfortunately, to obtain the perfect rose one must often have the perfect soil, a perfect watering regimen, and a lot of time. To those of you who don’t fall into this category, I offer you Rosa rugosa.

It may sprawl a little more than the hybrid teas that we see nowadays, and the flower petals tend to flop this way and that. All in all, it often has a kind of shaggy, unkempt air about it but that’s what gives this plant its character. Named for the wrinkled (rugose) surface of its glossy green leaves, this rose is a charmer that can soften and naturalize any area.

It’s a carefree rose, picky only about drainage. It will grow in salty conditions, shade, full sun, and poor soil, so long as it’s well-drained. Along the East Coast it even grows right in the sandy beaches!

There’s other reasons to grow this beauty besides the low maintenance. Large blooms cover this plant in early summer, giving way to sporadic blossoms up to the first frost. And Oh! The fragrance is sweet and pleasant, carrying for yards at a time. The blooms later give way to lucious brick-red rose hips so large that they look like cherry tomatoes. And if that weren’t enough, sometimes the yellow to orange to red fall color can be excellent!

If you have the space, this is the rose for you. There are many select cultivars available that will heighten the plant’s natural beauty. Choose one and you will never regret it.”

Can there be any debate about how poetic it is that we have Rosa Rugosa all along our shorelines and around town? This beautiful plant gives us so much beauty and fragrance amid the worst possible conditions. It thrives despite the cold winters, hot summers and even grows in the sand.

This line from the’s profile really drives it home-

“All in all, it often has a kind of shaggy, unkempt air about it but that’s what gives this plant its character. “

Isn’t that just perfectly fitting for Gloucester?

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