Rosa ‘Canary Bird’

This is always the first rose to flower in my garden, beating ‘Fruhlingsgold’ by a week, and is therefore specially beloved, though its beauty of flower, leaf and form would place it high in my affections at any season. A large, arching bush about 7 feet (2.1 m) tall and wide, it has warm brown stems covered in bright yellow small single flowers in late spring. The leaves grow in fernlike sprays, and occasionally there are small black hips in late summer. Like so many of my favourite plants, it comes from north China, and (mere fancy, perhaps) I feel that Chinese plants have a recognizable look, the exquisite quality of Chinese art. ‘Canary Bird’ likes well-drained soil, preferably limy, and looks its best in a bank or border of shrubs, with a few foliage plants, like Brunnera macrophylla, at its feet. Critics will tell you that it may suddenly die, which one plant did with me, but after sixteen years of perfection, I did not complain, but replaced it.

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