One of the most wonderful qualities of the rose is its diversity. This characteristic allows us to enhance our landscapes and gardens in many different ways. No two varieties are the same. You will find notable differences in size, fragrance, color and bloom sequences, much like a painter’s brushstrokes in a masterpiece.
The uniquely long cool weather of this spring gave us proof that Mother Nature also provides an ever-changing environment for plants to showcase their diversity. Early Texas springs are typically characterized by occasional freezing temperatures, followed by warm days that can reach into the 80s or even 90s. This temperature rollercoaster affects the bloom performance of all plants, including roses. This year we essentially had an “English Spring.” We had an extended period of cool weather absent the fluctuations of higher temperatures — much like the springs experienced in England. This allowed our roses and plants to mature slowly, flowers to enlarge, colors to brighten, and floral performance to stretch well into late May.
Normally our gardens’ peak bloom period is early April. Because of colder weather, this year’s spring was extended from mid-March through early May, a real treat for us. The show of ‘Lady Banksia’ and ‘Fortuniana’ roses, which normally bloom for three weeks, was prolonged to six weeks. Color, size and intensity of flowers on Tea and China roses were also much improved. In the prior past two years, our gardens were influenced by drought and heat, strengthening the performance of xeric plants, but shrinking the vigor of plants that love cool, wet weather. I have enjoyed this year’s cooler and wetter spring, but also the changes from year to year.
Given the rose’s inherent natural diversity juxtaposed with the unpredictable weather from Mother Nature, we are continually blessed with an ever-changing and unpredictable performance from our floral kingdom. Wild flowers, ornamental plants, annuals and perennials share this symphony. For me, this adds intrigue and mystery to what the garden brings; no one year is like another.
About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. His new book is Empress of the Garden. Visit his company’s Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses. To order roses online, visit www.weAREroses.com.