Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Plant Profile: Rosa

Roses. The Good. The blackspot covered with aphids (The Bad).
They are probably the most recognizable flower to the non-gardener, and there is even a convention to the 'meaning' behind what color and quantity of roses you receive as a gift.

For example, the yellow-orange rose pictured from our garden is said to symbolize 'modesty, sincerity and gratitude.' Go figure! That bee is obviously enjoying himself.

Throughout the ages there has been a lot of symbolism attached to roses. Ancient Romans, Greeks, and Christians all gave religious meaning to the rose. Also, the rose is the national flower of both England the US. For full disclosure, the national flower of Wales is the daffodil.

Latin name: Rosa ("RO-sah")
Common name: Rose
Originally from: mostly Asia, a few from Europe, North America, and northwest Africa.
Blooms: In our climate from mid-Spring all the way through Fall. A final flush has occurred as late as early November!
Light: Full sun
Water: Plenty, thanks! Don't forget the fertilizer either. Or great air circulation.
Where to find in P. Garden: as you walk down the steps...

yellow standard: to your right
"Iceberg" standard: to your left
Hybrid tea "Whisky Mac" (see photos!): this one has been removed to a garden with more water available - good luck Whisky Mac!

Concerning the plethora of rose types, just Wikipedia roses and 2 hours later you may begin to understand how obsessed humanity has been with cultivating roses. One rose called "Peace" escaped from Nazi occupied France during WW2 and is now one of the most beloved roses of all time.

On the practical uses for roses, there is a lot to admire. Rose hips, the fleshy edible fruit of the rose, is high in vitamin C and quite tasty, as is rose water and rose syrup. Rose scented perfumes are made from a substance called "attar of rose," which is the steam-extracted oil from rose petals. You can also candy the petals.

UPDATE from Annie: Roses aren't the drought tolerant, low maintenance plant we're aiming for at PG. We've rehomed the yellow "Whisky Mac" and the two standard roses will be rehomed eventually too. We will miss their sweet fragrance, but not their constant demands for attention and water ;)

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