Monday, April 18, 2011

Plants I'm Growing--First Blooms: White Rock Rose, Rosa Chinensis Mutabilis (2011)

A heavy load of work this week has caused me to miss the first blooms of 2011 on a number of plants in the garden this year, but I note that the large white Cistus on the side of the house, by the lamppost, started blooming on April 15--yet another Cistus, or rock rose, that I've lost track of the name of. One of the first plants I planted here, it thrives with almost no water and blooms reliably.

The blowsy multi-colored rose, also on the side of the house, began blooming around April 15 as well. Rosa chinensis mutabilis it's called. I like the name of this plant--as I may have remarked here before. It means "mutable Chinese rose" and the name is apt. The compact, neat buds begin a promising deep red, but the flowers open a medium purplish pink and then develop apricot centers as they quickly fade to pink and finally to a mottled pale beige. The flowers then fall apart and blow away. Perhaps this flower should be the symbol of romantic love, rather than the scarlet hybrid tea rose that has taken on that role.

First blooms yesterday, April 17, on the deep pink rose by the side of the deck, a variety called "Nearly Wild." It's a very pretty single-petaled, old fashioned-looking rose that reminds me of the wild roses I remember from summers in England as a child. The buds are a deep, deep pink. The long-lasting flowers open to show a somewhat paler center with cheerful yellow stamens. Generally trouble free, although it occasionally needs a light spraying with neem oil to prevent mildew and against aphids. "Nearly Wild" bloomed on April 9 in 2010, so it has calculated a botanical year of 356 days.

The climbing rose "Altissimo" has also started to bloom in the past few days, but I missed the first bloom this year.

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