Above and Beyond

Above and Beyond

April 15 2021

It’s winter and I dream of flowers. After months of short days and the sepia tones of my winter garden, I have an insatiable hunger for color and light. I can’t get enough and I go overboard, starting with seeds in March and buying longed for flowers when the greenhouses open about May. I surround myself all spring, summer and fall with a rainbow of colors, every flowering plant I can get my greedy little hands on. More is more.

My gardens have a pretty good mixture of trees and shrubs which I feel add desired height, texture, and layers, so I feel pretty free to tuck in perennials wherever there’s a space with proper light conditions. I love them all, but occasionally one rises up, singles itself out and becomes a new favorite. One of these is the aptly named ‘Above and Beyond’ rose. Even in my northern garden it reliably produces long arching canes covered in apricot orange blossoms that fade to soft white.

It’s rather amazing what it takes to create a new rose. Breeders painstakingly hand pollinate hundreds of flowers, removing unwanted stamens first and bringing in the new guys so to speak. Thousands of the resulting cross pollinated seeds are grown out and the new roses are evaluated for color, size, hardiness, and etc. The few that pass muster (really a few-sometimes eight or nine out of thousands) are vegetatively propagated to create exact copies of the chosen ones. This could take up to ten years. These new roses, and many other plants, are patented and it is illegal to propagate them for sale without a license. It’s only fair considering the time and money it takes to develop a new cultivar and how easy it is to root cuttings (people could multiply them madly).

‘Above and Beyond’ rose is considered a climber and in ideal conditions can grow over ten feet tall. In just a couple of years, mine has about five foot long canes. Roses don’t actually climb of course, I would have to tie them up to a support of some sort. So far, I just let them be-we’ll see how long they get and then decide.

Montana summers are indescribably beautiful, not too hot, and long, long sunny days. When it finally warms up (sometimes June) plants grow like they’re making up for lost time-perhaps they are. But just like the sun comes up every morning, winter retreats and the flowers come back. Though I know it will happen, and I know I will sometimes feel overwhelmed by my overzealous hopes and plans for my gardens, it can’t be helped-apparently. Have to go now, the seed catalogs beckon.

‘Above and Beyond’ rose, zone 3, Parentage: Lemon Fluff x (R. virginiana x Rosa laxa) patented in 2014.