You might be surprised to find out how much bees like roses. Not all roses, they don’t like the Hybrid Tea types with flowers so double and tight that they can’t get to the pollen. They are attracted to roses that are more open, either the wild single roses or the semi-double types. And, like me, they enjoy fragrant roses. Here’s a picture of a rose in the nursery with a bumblebee in the throes of ecstasy.
I like roses so much I’ve been known to say that if I could only grow one type of plant, it would be roses. Roses are edible, medicinal, fragrant, and beautiful. What’s not to like? To be honest, there are a few things that aren’t very likeable about roses… Their thorns, for one thing. And some roses have problems with diseases like powdery mildew and rust. But there are some roses that are disease free! Not all roses need to be coddled to be happy in your landscape.
And if you’re growing roses for bees, you certainly don’t want to spray them–most of the sprays and commercial rose food that are available are toxic to bees. Many of them contain neonicotinoids. We don’t use neonics here at our nursery. Never have, never will. But there are other sprays just as dangerous for bees, including some of the sprays approved for organic growers. I don’t spray the roses in my landscape with anything. I decided long ago that if roses can’t survive without spraying, they don’t belong in my garden! The rose below, with a happy bee in the center, is an heirloom rose called ‘Harison’s Yellow.’
We’ve had very good luck at our elevation with the hardy Canadian shrub roses. We also grow some heirloom roses that are winter hardy and disease free. Our latest favorites include the Easy Elegance line of roses. Hardier than Knock-outs, and with a much wider range of colors, the Easy Elegance roses are tough and fragrant and disease free. If you want an all summer blooming shrub, consider one of them. At 3′ tall and wide, they are perfect for many landscapes.
Check out the rose section of our catalog to see some of the roses that we will have this spring. http://www.pfplants.com/?page_id=1159