Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New foliage and the promise of Spring.

At this time of year, few things bring me such intense pleasure as the unfolding of the first new leaves in the greenhouses. (Well, the first Hyacinths in bloom qualify as well) I love the coloring of everything in this photo; soft colors and subtle contrasts.

Here we have new foliage on my mature specimen of a Dwarf China sent to me years ago by Sheri Berglund who had collected it as a mystery rose from a California cemetery. It is almost identical in habit to 'Oakington Ruby', another dwarf China from the late 1800's (we think) but with medium Carnation pink blooms. If it weren't for the bloom color these two varieties would be virtually indistinguishable. I wonder if one might be a sport or seedling of the other. We'll likely never know.

For now, I'm happy just to watch the leaves unfold with their bluish matte surfaces and the reddish tips and petioles. There are a few buds well on their way also, making this a contender for First Rose Of The Spring.

Happy, happy, joy, joy.


  1. Just like new foliage it is good to see new material on your blog.

    Vintage sells two miniature roses that there proper names is unknown. St. Thomas China and Mableton Rouletii. They might the same plant. it still does not help with identification however. Mableton Rouletii does have flowers that look like pictures I have seen of Oakington Ruby except the color is a little different but it could be just the photo. These plants took a while to grow but now are growing from one self with lights to the other. They are both now shrubs about 3 feet above the pot rim but I think 4 feet would not be out of the question. The both definitively show a lot of china in them and little if anything else. For this reason I do not think if I kept them outside all year that they would survive. But to sum it up they might be the same unidentified plant.

  2. I couldn't agree more Paul. It is a dizzying time for us rose fools.

  3. I'm anxiously awaiting the first leaves of 'Cardinal de Richelieu', which are a kind of touchstone for me, signaling that magical point at which Spring's surge cannot be denied. The Cardinal's foliage has one of the best fragrances; a kind of pepper-and-balsam melange that is a fierce memory trigger for me. Do you grow it, Carolyn?

  4. Wu,
    I have been curious about these dwarf Chinas that Gregg offers. Perhaps its time I acquired these for comparison to the ones I have here. I think they are some of the most charming little roses, and tough as nails as well! These rarely suffer Winter freeze damage like the Teas do here; they are far hardier.

  5. That is good to here they are most likely winter hardy. I already have some cuttings growing. They are farely easy to root. I like their more shrubby twiggy habit. I think modern miniatures have lost some of this due to their hybrid tea influence. But the Hybrid Teas and Floribundas dis add important things to the class.

  6. Ah, the flowers that bloom in the spring, tra-la! There's nothing so good at this time of year than to go out into the greenhouse and be able to smell things growing!