I cut a few sprays of Outta the Blue roses and they’re now sitting on our kitchen table, filling the room with the sweet scent of clove and roses. This beauty has very fragrant, deep magenta blooms with golden yellow stamens, but no tolerance for heat. While the petals burn and shatter the minute they open in intense mid-summer heat, the cooler autumn display is spectacular with clusters of 3 to 5 old-fashioned, wine-colored blooms.
This isn’t the only variety affected by seasonal change. The colors of some varieties morph from season to season. The gold and scarlet hues of the beautiful but fussy Playboy are more saturated in October than in June and the stunning reds and whites of Cherry Parfait are sharper in the fall. Some whites turn a pale pink and bi-colors show stronger contrasts.
Regardless, these are the last roses of summer and I’ve already started the annual rite of fall – preparing the gardens for winter. Three yards of horse manure have been ordered for delivery later in the month; potted roses are being gathered together and lightly pruned, ready to be pack away into cribs after Thanksgiving. The long, long arching canes of our very mature Graham Thomas that shot up in mid-summer will be swung over a bare spot in this large elegant specimen rose and pegged down to fill the bare spot with blooms next summer.
But despite the calendar, this may be one of those rare years when the rose gods are kind and really hard frosts are delayed, making it possible for us to have roses from our gardens on the Thanksgiving table. We’ll let you know.