Dog Rose is a fast growing very prickly native shrub with arching stems. A deciduous wild rose species which is native to western Asia, northwest Africa and Europe it is a popular variety often found in native hedgerow mixes. Dog Rose or Rosa Canina to give it the Latin name has stems covered in tiny hooked thorns which help it to climb, pale pink flowers and red hips in autumn. The name of this species is said to derive from the fact that in the time of the Greek Empire and classical mythology the root was used as a cure for the bite of mad dogs which also transcended to the 18th and 19th centuries when it was used for that very purpose. It can be a long-lived plant since the Thousand-year Rose which grows up a wall of Hildesheim Cathedral is said to have been planted in the year 815AD.
The hips of Rosa Canina are very high in vitamin C and are often used to make Rose Hip Syrup, tea and marmalade, especially in countries like Bulgaria where it is quite prolific and is also used to make a sweet wine. Occasionally a form of Dog Rose is used as stocks for grafting some of the cultivated roses and for holding the soil in land reclamation.
Rosa Canina is a hardy shrub that will tolerate most situations with reasonable soil and drainage. The flowers provide a good source of nectar for insects and hips for the birds if there are any left after picking for the kitchen! As a rose hedge Dog Rose can be planted as a single row at 3 plants per metre or a double staggered row at 5 plants per metre and growing up to 2.5 metres at a rate of 30-60cm per year. Trimming should be carried out in winter.
Dog Rose is generally supplied as bare root plants which are the most economical if planting to a budget. They come in various sizes so depending on your patience you can start with a smaller size or if time is of the essence then choose larger ones.