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A ROSE IS A…

My property in Central Queen’s has been not-so-affectionately but fairly appropriately nick-named Invasive Acres. And while I am not directly responsible for all the unwelcome species (like the glossy buckthorns), some of them are, well, my fault.

Many years ago I was thinking of getting sheep, not in themselves an invasive species. While pondering the problem of fencing, I was given some interesting advice by a biologist friend. He recommended planting a hedge of multiflora roses (Rosa multiflora), which, when mature, would be impenetrable to both sheep and predators. I planted the hedge, and although I never did get the sheep, it sure would have worked as the barrier he had claimed. It was taller than I, dense and vigorous. It expanded every year as its branches bent and rooted at their tips. It was pretty, with clusters of white and pink blossoms in early summer, beloved by bees and followed by elongated dark red hips which made great Christmas decorations. In fact, I used the long canes to make wreaths, as many of them were thornless. Birds hung out in the hedge, eating the hips and safe from the feral cats (that’s another article).

Too soon old, too late wise as they say. I started discovering these pretty roses all over the place, presumably spread by the above birds. After learning, to my grief, about the aggressiveness of this Asian import I had to conclude that it was seriously out of place in my long-term plan to nurture Acadian Forest species. That’s when I called the guy with the bulldozer. In three quarters of an hour the hedge became a pile of detritus, which I carefully covered with a tarp for the winter. The pile retained no signs of life, but a few sprouts still appear at the site of the late hedge. Those get mowed. And as for the ones planted by the birds – well, that’s an ongoing project.

- Lynne Douglas, PEIISC Member