Here in Rhode Island, fall is in the air. The leaves are turning color, the nights are getting colder, and … we have roses blooming in the garden! Both September and October have been warmer than average this year and that is the reason why our garden is having a larger, longer, and more colorful third bloom cycle. Playgirl, along with varieties such as Good as Gold, Passionate Kisses and My Girl, has been blooming late into the season.
With Halloween right around the corner, pumpkins are the decoration of choice and pumpkins can also be a way to uniquely display roses in the fall. Rather than let the roses sit on the bushes, we decided to buy a pumpkin and fill it with roses.
We had a good selection of roses for the pumpkin but my favorite was Playgirl, a floribunda hybridized in the United States by Ralph Moore in 1986. It blooms in clusters on short stems and once it starts blooming, nothing seems to stop it. With only 5-12 petals, it still has eye-catching appeal because of its deeply saturated medium pink color and bright yellow stamens that create a stunning contrast. Playgirl is a fairly new addition to our garden and is not readily available in our area, so Mike ordered it on-line. It’s given us spray after spray of 3-5 roses each, repeats quickly, and is shade tolerant.
Playboy, the seed parent of Playgirl, has been in our garden for years. It was introduced in 1976 and hybridized by Scotland’s Alex Crocker. Playboy, like Playgirl, is a single rose, but unlike the pink flowers of Playgirl, its color is a combination of oranges, golds and scarlet. At a certain stage of bloom, there is nothing as beautiful as a spray of Playboy. It likes a little shade in the afternoon but, unfortunately, wasn’t in bloom at the time I filled my pumpkin “vase.”
There are other ways to enjoy roses besides a vase or pumpkin. I place blooms in a bird bath – it’s a way to have roses in my kitchen garden where it’s too shady to grow roses. I like to place roses in decorative bowls filled with water on the dining room or coffee tables. Sometimes I use just one rose or gather several roses to place in larger bowls. To get the same size flowers, we use the terminal bud, the bud in the middle of the spray that opens first. This is the method we use when entering English Boxes in the rose show in June. We find that Graham Thomas, Day Breaker and Rainbow Sorbet have perfect form to be entered in English Box classes.
Now that the season is almost over, soon the autumn leaves will have fallen and we will have enjoyed our last roses of the season. While I think I will remember everything that takes place every year in our garden, keeping a Gardening Journal is the only way I can be certain I won’t forget. That’s why Mike and I are now in the process of publishing our next book, a journal for rose gardeners that will be available early next year. What a great way to keep track of all the events that happen each season in our New England garden.