Monday, February 11, 2013

Forget cut roses — give valentine a rosebush

Red roses are a traditional Valentine's Day gift

February 11, 2013

What gift is more traditional on Valentine’s Day than a bouquet of red roses?  Red roses represent respect and a creative spirit.  They symbolize romantic love and enduring passion.  However, as beautiful as they are, cut flowers have a short life.  Within days, they begin to fade until the blooms eventually wilt on the stem and are tossed away.

If only there was a way to make the gift of red roses last forever…

There is.  Plant a rose bush! 

Of the many roses to choose from, one stands out.  Rosa “Louis Philippe” has just about everything one would want in a rose.  It is a prolific bearer of medium-size, deep red blooms that have a wonderful fragrance.  It naturally resists diseases and pest problems that bother many other more delicate cultivars, requires minimal care, no pesticides and is a hardy specimen that been around for a long time. 

In Florida, where it has adorned landscapes since the late 1800s, Rosa “Louis Philippe” has many names.  It is known as ‘Florida rose’, ‘antique china rose’, ‘Florida cracker rose’ or simply ‘cracker rose.’  
But no matter what name it goes by, this aromatic beauty is sure to supply an abundance of deep red blooms throughout most of the year.

On our property, we have several Louis Philippe plants and each one boasts a multitude of blooms.  We have Louis Philippe roses abutting our parking area, near the entry and surrounding our compost pile where the sweet scent of roses helps displace the less pleasant odor of decomposing food matter.  All of our plants came from cuttings of the original rose purchased more than 20 years ago.  Louis Philippe is easy to propagate by cuttings. 

Although we established most of our young plants in areas that receive irrigation and soil enhancements, we have one plant that receives no such attention.  When my son Tim stuck a rooted cutting across the lake under a pine tree, I was dubious.  The only water that location receives comes from rainfall, the spot gets little sun due to the pine canopy and receives no attention from us since it is so far from our house.

Despite receiving no irrigation except rainfall and being planted in pine forest, our Louis Philippe rose is flourishing
However, not only did the young rose survive.  It thrived!  The plant is spectacular.  Lush with foliage and flush with blooms, I can honestly say it is doing better there with less attention than the more carefully planted and irrigated specimens closer to our home.  Across the lake where it is left alone, the rose can do what it does best – grow dozens of ruby-red, beautiful, fragrant roses.

Louis Philippe is a bush rose that likes to spread out and sprawl but it can also be pruned or shaped to fit a snug spot.  No matter where it is planted or what form it ultimately takes, Louis Philippe will produce a year-round supply of lovely flowers. 

If you’re searching for a Valentine’s Day gift that speaks volumes, consider adding a Rosa “Louis Philippe” to your landscape.  If a single red rose says, “I love you” and a bouquet of blooms mean, “enduring passion,” what message could an entire bush filled with red flowering fragrance possibly say?  

To me, it says you care enough to grow together.  It symbolizes the desire to create beauty out of briars and to thrive even when times are tough.  It’s a message of commitment and long-lasting love. 

Can one plant really do that much?  Try it and see.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much Sherry, you are so right on about the Old Garden Rose 'Louis Philippe'. Dating to 1834, he is truly a survivor and we hope for many many more years he continues to be in gardens all over the world.