The Final Flower

    As a horticulturist if I have a “thing” it has to be roses. This wasn’t always the case, but once I started working at the oldest rose garden in the country, right here in Philly, I developed a mania that has only gotten more extreme over time.

    The shrub rose ‘Heritage’ was the last good rose in my garden this year. This photo was taken after it had gone through several freezes and thaws, changing the flower’s color from very pale blush to a deeper pink. ‘Heritage’ is a David Austen rose. He’s an English hybridizer who has created a lot of modern varieties that resemble antique roses, the horticultural version of reproduction furniture. Except for the fact that the fragrance doesn’t hold a candle to that of genuine antique roses, and the color is a little bland for me, this is a very nice plant. It’s easy to grow and is almost thornless, which is good, since it gets pretty tall and can whip around on a windy day. And any rose that will bloom into December can be forgiven for its other shortcomings.

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