The roses are carrying on with flowers and buds, but they’re showing the effects of the cool nights. Some mornings their flowers are a bit hung over—and not from excessive alcohol! But coming into their beautiful moment are colourful rose hips that have developed where I purposely allowed spent blossoms to remain and develop seed cases. I love these hips, with their various shapes and sizes. The large and vivid hips on Rosa rugosa shrubs look like small tomatoes. Other named cultivars like the shrub rose ‘Westerland’ make sprays of prominent orange-red hips that remain ornamental until snow withers and darkens them.
Now here’s a nice treat for lovers of rose hips. New from Kordes are Fruitilia roses, developed to have beautiful flowers and lovely ornamental hips. The plants are three to four feet (90 to 120 cm) tall, and a cut spray of hips lasts about four weeks in a water-filled vase. The plants are lovely, with frilled, semi-double blooms in a rich selection of colours. Fruitilia roses are hardy only to Zone 6, but are grafted onto Rosa multiflora rootstock, and that may increase cold tolerance if the shrubs are deeply mulched and the canes wrapped in winter. You might want to try one next spring, and an Internet search will turn up a source for Canadian gardeners.
Other posts by Judith this week:
Hi Susanne (Oct. 6),
There are two dips that keep rose hips plump and colourful, and preserve them for outdoor use: liquid floor wax or shellac thinned with denatured alcohol. The liquid floor wax (from a supermarket or hardware store) is easiest to use and has no residual odour. Just dip the rose hips in and then set them to dry on a non-stick surface like aluminum foil. Hope this works for you, and those should make some very attractive wreaths!
Susanne Spence Wilkins says
Does anyone know if there is a way to preserve rose hips (not in water) to use in outdoor winter arrangements and wreaths?