Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON
The bigger the rose, the bigger the thorns. If you look down the stem of this bud, you'll notice gossamer-thin protruberances. As the rose grows, so these grow into protective, sharp thorns. The afternoon light was just right for this shot, because it highlighted the mini-thorns while allowing me to capture the bud in all its glory. Some years ago, nurseries began selling thornless roses, but the concept didn't really take off. Can you guess why? Because thorns actually serve a crucial purpose, of keeping pests away.