With its ostentatious white flowers clamoring for your attention, Boulder Raspberry impresses like a hybridized cultivar, rather than a native shrub. Growing three to five feet tall and six feet wide, arching, sprawling stems carry bright green, lobed leaves that turn yellow in fall before dropping for the winter. Spring’s blooms develop into small reddish purple fruit resembling cultivated raspberries. While edible, the berries are generally considered unpalatable. However, they will attract birds and other wildlife to your garden. Unlike other raspberries, the stems are thornless.
Dry shade is enough to send most plants running, but Boulder Raspberry thrives there. For best results, situate plants in light to medium shade with gravelly or silty soil amended with compost. Water deeply but infrequently. Native to Rocky Mountain slopes and ravines between 4,500 and 9,000 feet, the shrub is long-lived and very hardy.
A bit coarse for a formal garden, try combining Boulder Raspberry with other natives in a natural setting. It works best as an understory plant or in a northern exposure. Pink shrub roses (such as ‘Nearly Wild’) or purple-leafed ‘Diablo’ Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) would make outstanding companions.