If I hadn’t taken up the slow flowers challenge, and spent a few minutes on Thanksgiving searching my garden for a tiny bouquet for my bathroom windowsill, I might not have really registered that one of my roses is still in bloom. Ish. The flowers were a tiny bit melty (worse now — see photo below, right) but even during summer they seem a touch… off. Probably because they’re not really flowers. Rosa chinensis f. viridiflora produces no petals or sexual parts. Just an over abundance of alizarin-tinged sepals in a fully double flower-like bonanza. They’re lousy for attracting pollinators and have no scent whatsoever, but I love them for their oddity. And because I have a thing for green flowers. (Go figure.)
Weirdness aside, the plant has a sweet, low branching habit to about two- or three-feet tall and produces endless clusters of “flowers.” It has been quite happy living on the cusp of its cold hardiness zone (6) in my garden, rarely even bothering to die back to the ground, and the foliage seems remarkably disease resistant.
Better still, with no petals to shatter in the cold, the “flowers,” even if a little nipped, turned out to be brilliant and long lasting in this tiny late-fall arrangement with Itea foliage, honesty (Lunaria annua) and love grass (Eragrostis spectabilis) seedheads. And fun to paint to boot.
Do you value weirdness in the garden? Do you have a favorite oddity?