Plant of the Month
Prairie Rose or Wild Climbing Rose
It is always fun to find an unexpected benefit from a plant. Most roses are not noted for their fall color; but, this one seems to be an exception (at least this year!). The flowers in the spring are classic wild roses with a single row of 5 deep pink petals.
Prairie Rose (as you might suspect) is native to the mid-western tall grass prairie, where it grows along streambanks and riparian zones. If it does not have support to climb on, it will grow as a large, sprawling shrub with canes 10-12’ long that arch up to 3 or 4 feet tall, then drop back to the ground. Those tips can re-root and the plant can spread that way; but, the plant in the Arboretum has only done that infrequently.
There are a number of non-native roses that have been introduced to this area that have since escaped or naturalized and have become significant invasive problems. I have not seen evidence of that with this rose; and I would guess that since it naturally grows only in riparian areas the chances of it becoming a widespread invasive here are slim.
October was just weird for weather in Moscow, most of it continued the mild trend we have had all summer; but three nights in the 20’s froze a lot of leaves before they had a chance to turn colors, and a couple of inches of snow on 9th of October broke some tree limbs. We were very fortunate that it didn’t snow any more. Spokane got hit a little earlier and a lot harder and had massive amounts of tree damage.
Most of the month is devoted to cleaning up annual and perennial flower beds as they finish growing and mulching up leaves as they drop. Most people would be amazed at the volume of organic matter we accumulate. Anything that will decompose relatively quickly gets piled down beyond the barn where it is pretty much allowed to compost naturally. We try not to accumulate very many leaves—as many of them as possible are mulched up using the mulching blades on our big commercial lawn mowers. Anything that is too woody to decompose quickly gets hauled to the University’s wood chip pile where it is eventually chipped up and used for fuel for the steam plant.
Along with the routine clean up chores, we have been able to finish constructing a new path along the base of the west slope. The path will access a new planting of shade loving, native wild flowers and ferns donated in memory of Ray Hoff. Ray worked as a research scientist for the U.S. Forest Service and one of his focuses was working with Western White Pine. His collection will be growing under the established grove of Western White Pines on the west slope.
Currently no upcoming events.
Be sure to check back next month