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Lessons from the Joseph's Coat Rose

This year, the Joseph's Coat climbing rose bloomed before all others. The blooms have been spectacular, truly living up to the biblical story of Joseph's multi-colored coat. There have been varying shades of yellow, orange, red, peach, and numerous shades within that spectrum. We purchased an evening spotlight for it, just so that the blooms can be enjoyed after the sun sets.

Orange Pink rose

Although I have read that this rose is not necessarily good for surviving winters, the Joseph's Coat rose has entered its seventh year here in the Upper South, outperforming many of its other hybrid tea companions from the same company. This performance has occurred despite its location along a southeast facing trellis in red clay soil. It greets the morning sun in the east, but it does not get any westerly rays of light in the afternoon. Yes, it gets the usual spotting that's expected of hybrid tea roses in this area, but the splendid blooms outshine such flaws. Otherwise, it appears this rose is defying the odds, which teaches us that sometimes, you have to plant a rose with faith that it will prevail.

This Joseph's Coat rose has taught another lesson. It does not make a great rose for cutting and putting in vases. Accidentally, two blooms were cut during pruning, so they were brought indoors for a vase. They immediately drooped and never recovered. They did not unfurl their petals, either. These roses made a clear statement: They are made for climbing, not for decorating vases. In other words, you can't make a rose something it isn't. You must place a rose where it has a chance of surviving and living up to its purpose. This is not the same as placing blind faith in putting a climbing rose in a super-shady location and cutting its blooms for indoors. You may have to make a few compromises and then proceed in faith, but it's better to give it a fighting chance by working with its natural attributes, rather than against them. It is better to accept the way it was created, rather than trying to bend it to serve other purposes. This is a lesson for both roses and people, isn't it?


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