Monday, November 10, 2008

A Pose Between Two Thorns

Everything In Nature Serves Its Purpose

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


About 10 years ago, Mrs Authorblog and I were buying a rose bush to give to a friend who loves gardening. As we browsed around the nursery, I suddenly noticed that there was a sign proclaiming a new variety of thornless roses.

I was intrigued, for a variety of reasons. Why would anyone want to breed a rose without thorns? More to the point, would the cost of the research and the experimentation actually result in commercial success?


Then I remembered what had happened about 18 years ago, when nurseries bean stocking a new variety of ground-cover rose called the Flower Carpet rose. I was lucky enough to get one of the first, as a special promotion - and it was an incredible success.

Over the years, I have bought several more of the Flower Carpet roses. They fall into my special category of PNF plants - Plant N Forget, because they take care of themselves, need no attention at all and provide great colour for most of the year.


But as far as I know, the thornless roses haven't been a huge seller here. Guess why? Because roses have thorns for a very simple reason. The large, sharp thorns protect the huge, scented blooms. Roses without thorns, I guess, would be susceptible to just about anything.

I haven't yet found a creepy-crawly that is brave enough to tackle a rose bush. Ever wondered why rose thorns point downwards? To deter pests, that's why.

Visit Luiz Santilli Jr for the home of Today's Flowers.

33 comments:

ilanadavita said...

Great selection. Roses are so lovely.

Meire said...

Beautiful Rose!

Meire

Maggie May said...

Wonderful roses and I must admit that I had never thought that rose thorns needed to be pointed down in order to keep predators off.
I haven't come across thornless roses here.

dot said...

I've never thought about the thorns but it makes sense. Thanks for an informative post!

RuneE said...

Thank you for teaching me something new (I'm practically illiterate when it comes to floweres - and don't say "There too!!") - in addition to show these fine specimens!

ChrissyM said...

Gorgeous selection of roses

fishing guy said...

David: That was a wonderful story of the beautiful rose.

kylie said...

loved this one dave, it just show that you can take the biologist out of the lab but you cant take it out of the girl !

Millennium Housewife said...

Roses without thorns? We'll be asking for silver fountains without mud soon. Tsk. MH

Hilary said...

No creepy-crawlies? So it's true that hell hath no furry like a rosebush thorned.

Gorgeous shots. :)

arleena said...

Beautiful roses.

Denise said...

Never thought about all that before, great post and beautiful roses.

Lee said...

Gorgeous blooms, David! You must have a fantastic yard! A green thumb is a gift.

Cheers!

womaninawindow said...

A rose is a rose is a rose - couldn't be farther from the truth.
Beautiful.

ellen b said...

I always learn something when I come to your site David. Beautiful roses you have shown us today...

Mushy said...

Excellent shots David!

Paz said...

LOL! Very interesting about the thorns. ;-) Lovely photo of a lovely flower.

paz

Misty Dawn said...

How beautiful! I think I want to come stay at your place for awhile... all the flowers are gone here :-(

Leora said...

Such delicate roses. Thanks for bringing us their glory. Mine certainly have thorns; we have a scratched up car to prove it! (I have a climbing rose that needs to be trimmed frequently, or else we get more car scratches).

Melissa said...

I'm a sucker for roses..makes me smile! you have beautiful shots...

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

I lOVE roses...having spent yesterday pruning and more pruning, l realised it would be at least 7 months before I see a rose bud again, at best...so thank you for posting me some roses....
I was going to remove the rose from my garden image form my sidebar but I think I will leave it a while to remind me...

Jo Beaufoix said...

I love those photos David, but I would have welcomed a thornless rose as a kid. Both my parents and grandparents had large rose bushes, I have the scars to prove it. Maybe I shouldn't have been jumping them??

Arija said...

Dear David,
'it aint necesarily so', I have roses with just a few tiny hooks on the back of the leaves, yet not a pest in sight, and some very thorny ones are still decapitated by the b... possums.
The thornless varieties seem to be more delicate and harder to grow.
Anyway there is no fun in thornless roses, they don't rip your arms to shreds when pruning.

Jen - Queen of Poo said...

For some reason a rose without thorns seems much less interesting to me. Maybe because I love the metaphorical possibilities the thorns provide.

Sandi McBride said...

Except for the aephid...damn bugs...I wash them off my roses with soapy water dosed well with sevin dust. I love the idea of a carpet rose and if they sell over here, I know what my next request will be from Mac, the flower provider!
Sandi

Olga said...

I must confess I did not read the story, but the photos are very pretty!

napaboaniya said...

Call me ignorant, I had no idea there were actually thorn-less roses out there.
But like what you've mentioned, they're there for a good reason and it doesn't matter. The roses are beautiful and will be a pity if creep crawlies attacked them.

LOL~ I love how you've categorised your carpet roses as P.N.F! :)

Mckay K said...

Beautiful pictures. Thank you for the information on roses. I now know why thorns point down.

Moannie said...

Have you noticed that the thornless rose [the kind sold in Supermarkets and Garages] also have no scent? Grown in huge tunnels for the mass market, at least here in Europe they last twice as long, but don't give me half as much pleasure as a blowsy sweet scented Rose from my garden.

Kahshe Cottager said...

Beautiful roses David! And now I know more about the thorns on them as well! Have a wonderful week.

CrazyCath said...

Now I always thought the thorns were there to prick the finger of the bloke who had to buy them so he would always remember not to upset the wife!

Gorgeous photos. I love love love roses.

Denise BC said...

Hello, very graceful, beautiful image with the rose, congratulations on choosing the post.
Thank you for your participation in Today's Flowers.
hugs,
Denise, Pupo & Santilli - Team TF

cheshire wife said...

This post reminds me of the scene in the Thorn Birds where Rachel Ward tells Richard Chamberlain that roses have 'nasty hooky thorns'.