Increasing the Light

In the darkest time of the year, these,

…are a gift of flowering light from the garden. All of my roses withheld  their blooming (rather selfishly I thought) during October and early November, which is typically a showy time for roses here in Central Texas, USDA  gardening zone 8b. Along came Thanksgiving with some damp and chilly weather and the roses burst forth in glory, of both the bloom and foliage type.

This Knockout Rose, (Rosa ‘Radrazz’) opened its petals and let not only the sunshine in, but busy bees as well.

There’s more to come from this tough-as-nails rose,

…which also displays luscious burgundy-infused foliage.    The decorative coloration at the toothy leaf margins and along the stems, petioles, and veins of the compound rose leaves,

…augment the blooms and set the stage for cheer in the December Texas garden.  A nod to fall foliage color change (it’s not winter yet!), many rose shrubs present dual-colored foliage, especially when newly flushed-out.

Competing with the Knockout, but strutting their own style of rosy gorgeousness, are my Martha Gonzales roses.

Their diminutive leaves,

…sport a similar color scheme as the Knockout foliage, with perhaps a smidge more bronzy blush.  With their maroon-tinged leaves, the Martha Gonzales suggest a purple-haze in the garden, even  as other plants fade with winter approaching.

And those flowers!

Bright red and ready for a kiss from whatever pollinators happen by,

…these blooms are joy in flower form.

A similar plant, the Old Gay Hill Red China rose,  produces slightly larger, fuchsia-red flowers and more robust leaves.  The mature green leaves are outlined in carmine,

…but new leaves blush with burgundy wine.

Old Gay Hill China rose pairs elegantly with the Martha Gonzales roses all year round.

Not to be outdone one bit by their flaming cousins, these pretty pink Jackson and Perkins, ‘Simplicity’ roses, are not slowing down, even if the gardening season is.

A classic rose bud,

…’Simplicity’ opens to this,

…and finally, this.

Lush evergreen foliage with few blemishes, there is a touch-of-the-red to spice things up a bit.

Nine ‘Simplicity’ rose shrubs were in my garden when I took up residence in 1985.  Two original shrubs remain and I must say, they’re the most steadfast and hardy bloomers of any rose type I’ve ever grown.  While  roses tend to wimpiness during our dry, toasty summers and our come-n-go droughts, these ‘Simplicity’ bloom.


Take that, Texas climate!

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting her celebration of blooms for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day  and also to Pam at Digging for profiling the beauty of foliage with Foliage Follow-up.  Please visit each lovely blog to see blooms-n-foliage in gardens from many places.


33 thoughts on “Increasing the Light

  1. You’ve got it all going on, growing beautiful roses on top of all your native gorgeousness. The roses you feature are so pretty. There is something especially serene about rose bushes in bloom, no matter the color story.

    I have one grocery store floral department “mini-rose”, a yellow, an impulse gift buy from The Hub. After its time indoors I stuck it out in a bed and forgot about it. Now it is 3-4 feet in height and diameter. It looks like it is gearing up for a new round of blossoms. Never rule out a rose! Though delicate in appearance they can be tough as nails.

    Great two-for post!


    • I love the surprise finds of the gardening world: all the reading, researching, and angsting into what works in a garden and then the modest little who-knows-what-this-plant-is and it’s a long time winner! Roses can definitely be some of the most hardy plants, especially in our trying gardening conditions.


  2. Now that would be wonderful to have Roses blooming in December! Although some local person here in S. Wisconsin mentioned on Facebook that her Roses are still blooming, too, which is highly unusual. I noticed my Snapdragons are still alive. I’ll have to check to see if they have buds…


    • It’s not that unusual for our roses to be blooming this time of year, but if there’s a freeze, no blooms! What’s really painful is when they’re in full bloom at major pruning time (usually February for us). Oh, to prune or not….


  3. I absolutely love roses and would have liked to have many more but space is a problem in my garden. Here in London where I live, my roses flowers too, until they are cut down in January and they are back in flower again in April usually. Loved ‘Simplicity’ – such a perfect rose.


    • Hi Helene! I have the same problem too, as well as not having quite enough full sun spots. That said, here in Texas, we have to choose very tough roses to grow because of our long, hot summers and so that we don’t have to water them too much. It’s great and surprising that you have such a long growing season with your roses–April until pruning time–that’s quite a stretch. I agree with you: ‘Simplicity’ is just about the perfect rose. It also has a lovely fragrance, so I guess that clinches the title of “Perfect Rose”!


    • Isn’t Simplicity divine? Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s grown/sold anymore. I should really take some cuttings and grow some, just in case these last two decide they’ve lived long enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! Such a treat all these roses flowering! Gorgeous all of them, and very healthy looking too. I like the fine foliage of Martha Gonzales.


      • Most people stay away from roses here, because of the foliage disease, with a bit more rain happening 🙂 it’s hard to keep them on check without spraying, but still a garden without roses? 🙂


      • Here in Texas, the solution seems to be hardy cultivars (like the Knockout series) and antique roses, found on abandoned farms in the ’80’s, but planted as far back as the 1800’s. There were “rose rustlers” who took cuttings and the horticultural folks got involved to breed and sell. I wouldn’t dare plant anything that didn’t have that stamp of approval–our climate is just so tough for so much of the year. Still, we have some great choices (like the Martha Gonzales–so named for the woman whose garden the rose was found in) that are drought tolerant and don’t require sprays, etc. Truthfully, I’m not that much of a rose gardener; I like them just fine, but they’re not the be all, end all in my garden. But, you have a point: what’s a garden without roses!


  5. I’m just going to have to echo Dee. Roses in December are an absolute delight. I do like that Simplicity rose. She looks especially nice set against the limestone wall.


  6. Roses aren’t generally grown for their foliage, but up close the leaves of some are pretty, aren’t they? I like the ones with a tinge of reddish color. Now is definitely a good time for roses all over Austin. My mom has been exclaiming over hers.


    • I’d agree that most gardeners don’t grow roses for their leaves–why would we, when those flowers are so gorgeous? But certain rose types have very pretty, colorful foliage. I think lots of folks are enjoying the rose show right now.


    • Wow! I’m surprised that you have blooms–sort of wonderful and disconcerting at the same time. While I know you get tired of the snow and cold, I hope you get some soon!


    • Happy New Year to you as well! It’s been pretty calm here–most of the awful action having taken place in the Dallas area, about 3 hours north of Austin. I did get some hail, but only a little splat and pea sized at that. Still, weird for this time of year. The roses are still in bloom….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s