Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rose Foliage? I Must Be Mad!

I have been surprised with my growing interest in the leaves on the roses I grow.  Of course the first thing that draws us to roses are the beautiful flowers.  Then after some time of tending the plants these beautiful flowers grow on, I began to pay more attention to the plant's form and architecture.  Now I find myself looking deeper into the rose and noticing beauty and differences in the foliage of the roses I grow.  This fall I have found myself taking pictures of rose leaves.  They can change color and give a display in union with the trees.  And have you ever noticed the different textures these leaves can have.  Below are a few pictures of Moore's Striped Rugosa with its crinkly leaves in typical rugosa fashion.  
I currently only grow two hybrid rugosas (Moore's Striped Rugosa and Linda Campbell).  The more familiar I become with the class (which frankly very few are grown in Oklahoma) the more I am drawn to them.  Both show a true hybrid leaf that is somewhere between the more crinkled rugosas and the smooth leaves of the modern roses they have been crossed with.
Below is my Climbing Rainbow's End sporting some gorgeously colored fall foliage.  The smooth shiny leaves are just about as different from the rugosa leaves above as they could be.  Both offer nice color to the garden even after the flowers quit blooming.
The final picture shows some bright red leaves on the young growth of Lavender Lassie.  As new growth I think the sugar content must have been high and caused the richer color than normal.
If you find yourself uninterested in this post - don't worry.  It will always be the flower that draws us to roses.  However, if you find yourself more and more interested in things like plant structure, leaves, thorns, and who knows what else - don't worry.  You have just fallen hopelessly in love with the whole rose.


  1. Oh I hope my new Moore's Striped looks like that! Rev, check out Paul Barden's work on rose foliage. You can find it by a net search or a search on my blog for Barden.

  2. Thanks Prof. I remembering reading one of Paul Barden's posts about foliage but I will be sure to check it out again. I think you will really enjoy your Moore's Striped Rugosa. Mine is still young but I have been thrilled with it and it holds lots of promise.

  3. Nice post about rose foliage! The fall leaves of your 'Climbing Rainbow's End' are simply stunning. To me the foliage of a rose and the bush form are certainly important. The rose flower itself alone doesn't do it anymore ;-). But the most important thing in my opinion is that the rose is as disease resistant as possible. For me that is the key to be regarded as a beautiful rose.

  4. Christina, I totally agree about disease resistance. I try not to spray much but I do have a couple of personal favorites such as Gertude Jekyll which require spraying a couple of times a year. And thanks for your comments as always.

  5. Beautiful! I think it is a true plant lover who can appreciate dormancy like this. Great photos. Found you through a News OK blog list, happy to see an Oklahoma gardening blog. I may bother you soon with some rose problems I'm having.

  6. Green Goose, Glad you found me and I will be glad to help in any way I can. I'll be sure to check your blog out.