Did you know that planting roses in your garden will increase biodiversity by attracting animals? This is due to the many beneficial characteristics typical of these garden gems. While you’ll enjoy their wonderful colours and fragrances, a wide range of animals will find their flowers, rosehips and branches irresistible.
The tangle of branches, especially those produced by climbing roses, provides the perfect place for birds to take shelter and build their nests. Shrub roses are also favoured by hedgehogs and other small mammals that forage for food beneath these plants while being protected by their thorny branches.
The fragrance of many roses is an extra means for them to attract insects, even at a distance. When flowering, single-petal roses attract bees, hoverflies, parasitic wasps and other beneficial insects that can easily collect pollen from them. Late morning in particular is when this pollen is released in great quantities- and when the air above a garden rose will be buzzing with bees. Should aphids find their way to roses, this will also attract their natural predators such as ladybirds that will then feed on the aphids. Roses are a host plant for certain moths, including the Black-spot Chestnut, that lay their eggs on them.
After flowering, species (wild) roses as well as many rose cultivars will produce attractive rosehips. These will be eagerly sought for food by birds such a thrushes, redwings and blackbirds during the autumn and winter. And some bird species, including greenfinches and goldfinches, will peck out the seeds inside rosehips. All good reasons to boost the biodiversity of your immediate surroundings by planting roses!
Tips for biodiversity
- For a good floral display and pretty rosehips, apply fertiliser to your roses at the end of March, mid-June and mid-July.
- To extend flowering, remove faded flowers during the summer.
- During the autumn, leave faded flowers on the plant so that they can develop into rosehips.