Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rainbow's End

I was recently asked by an anonymous email if Mrs. ProfessorRoush has a favorite rose, and if I know which rose it is.  I am suspicious that it was Mrs. ProfessorRoush, herself, who may have asked the question just as a test to see if I've been listening, but I'm going to answer it here anyway to prove that I DO know the answer as every good gardening husband should.

'Rainbow's End' miniature rose
Mrs. ProfessorRoush has long been captivated by miniature roses. In the heyday of Nor'East Miniature roses, I planted a number of miniatures right outside the kitchen door for her enjoyment, but that was also during a time before I discovered how hot, dry, and windswept that particular planting area really was. Needless to say, the miniatures dwindled there over time, despite my best efforts, and I have since moved the survivors to more hospitable sites. Her favorite rose, however, then as well as now, was the Nor'East miniature introduction 'Rainbow's End'. Since I know which side of my bread is buttered, I strive to keep a couple of them around, and I leave a few blooms on her nightstand from time to time.  I don't know what it is about that rose, the color, the form or the general cheerfulness of the blossoms, but 'Rainbow's End' is the one rose that Mrs. ProfessorRoush commands me to keep around.

'Rainbows End' (Registered as 'SAValife') is a 1984 introduction by Harm Saville that grows about one foot tall and in diameter for me.  It has beautiful, perfect, hybrid-tea-shaped double, yellow 1.5 inch blossoms whose edges are dipped in red.  The red spreads towards the center as the blossom ages, and no two blossoms on the same plant ever look alike.  'Rainbow's End' is a cross of the classic yellow miniature 'Rise n Shine' and the pink 'Watercolor'.  It won the Award of Excellence (AOE) for Miniatures in 1986 and it is often an award winner on the flower show tables.  Disease resistance in my garden is good, although very near the end of the season I sometimes see a little blackspot or lose some leaves at the base of this rose. I see some dieback in my Zone 5b climate, but Kansas winters haven't killed one yet. There is a climbing sport on the market, but I have only grown the bush form.

So, whoever asked if I knew which was Mrs. ProfessorRoush's favorite rose, I hope that I passed the test.  If it was actually Mrs. ProfessorRoush being sneaky, I'm glad she didn't ask me for the color of the Bobbi Brooks pantsuit she wore on our first date or, for that matter, what the names of the kids are or if I know how many years I've been married.  Non-gardening things are sometimes to difficult to recall. 

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