Q: I planted a 'Fru Dagmar Hastrup' rugosa rose, or at least one labeled with that name and having fragrant rose-pink flowers and huge...
Q: I planted a ‘Fru Dagmar Hastrup’ rugosa rose, or at least one labeled with that name and having fragrant rose-pink flowers and huge, spectacular red-orange hips. However, it has turned out to be incredibly invasive, popping up yards from where it was originally planted, frequently in the middle of something else, and in general trying to take over the whole garden.
Another annoying trait is that the canes bloom heavily then turn brown, essentially dying and needing to be dug up. Despite the plant’s hips and fragrance, I am seriously thinking about “hastrupicide.” Could this plant have been mislabeled, or is the good Frau really rather wild at heart?
A: If a plant is a bad actor in your garden, no matter its popularity or recommendations, it’s the wrong plant in the wrong place. The nature of rugosa roses is to spread into a thicket, some more than others, depending on conditions. When I grew rugosas on a dry hillside, they spread too aggressively, but in a more cultivated border situation I’ve found them to be more mannerly.
Rosa ‘Fru Dagmar Hastrup’ is one of the shorter rugosas, growing only 3- to 4-feet high, with deep-pink blossoms that fade to silvery pink, crinkly leaves and large hips in autumn.
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Whatever rose you may have — and it’s true that rugosas are sometimes mislabeled — it sounds like it’s more trouble than it’s worth between dying canes and wandering ways. Sounds like “hastrupicide” may be the best solution.
Q: A friend showed me an aloe plant that didn’t look at all like the kind we used to grow on the windowsill. This one is round and grew in a spiral. He claims it can be grown outside here year round. Is this true?
A: Your friend probably showed you an Aloe polyphylla, the hardy spiral aloe, which grows quickly into a rosette of succulent light green, barbed leaves swirled in a spiral. This curious plant is native to the high mountains of South Africa, so it’s hardy enough for Northwest winters if you provide perfect drainage. You’d need to plant on a slope, in raised beds or in a pot in well-draining soil. Soggy roots are more deadly than cold temperatures for this aloe.
Once source for Aloe polyphylla is Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, N.C. (www.plantdelights.com; 919-772-4794; catalog is free, but if you like it, please send 10 stamps or a box of chocolates — they prefer the chocolates).
Q: I want to grow true lilies, not just daylilies. What is the difference, and when and how should I plant the tall kind of lilies?
A: Your understandable confusion lies in the fact that daylilies aren’t really lilies at all. True lilies grow from a bulb, while daylilies are perennials in the genus Hemerocallis.
Lilies are more like tulips and daffodils, while daylilies are more akin to asters or daisies in their growth pattern and care requirements.
Lily bulbs should be planted late in the autumn. They push up a stout stalk in spring, and sprout huge, fragrant flowers in July and August. If lilies are planted deeply in well-draining soil, you can leave them in the ground to bloom year after year, forming larger and larger clumps with more and more flowers over the years. For an education in lily-growing along with gorgeous color photos, order a catalog from B&D Lilies in Port Townsend, which is a reputable source for both lilies and daylilies (www.bdlilies.com; 360-765-4341).
Valerie Easton also writes about Plant Life in Sunday’s Pacific Northwest Magazine. Write to her at P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions. Sorry, no personal replies.