Living Color and Photos of Our Roses
Color is often the first quality we respond to in roses, yet our understanding of it is often hazy. A color photo can seduce us with the beauty of a flower, but also mislead us. Rose blossoms are organic and therefore changeable, responding to climate as well as to the daily shifts of temperature and humidity. They have a lifespan, beginning as buds packed with petals that open and expand, reflex and fall apart, Each moment of this life can be marked with subtle or dramatic changes in tint, shade, and blending. Photos always miss this because they only show a fleeting moment in time. We encourage you to embrace this reality and to accept that when a rose fails to meet your expectations based on an image you have seen, it is not disappointing you it is teaching you and sharing its essence.
We have seen a great difference in the coloring of a particular variety from one part of the country to another, and from one country to another. Heat and humidity can pale the colors of some varieties and intensify others. Our own cool coastal climate in Northern California often brings out subtleties that are missed in other climates; the tan and brown roses often are their best here, and the hand-painted roses of McGredy and other breeders can be striking.
Color is often simply misunderstood, despite the universal familiarity with the concept of the color wheel and spectrum. The American Rose Society instituted a system of color codes which were first extensively employed in Modern Roses 8 (1980), the standard reference work on roses. This system broke pinks into the following groups: light pink, medium pink, deep pink, orange-pink and apricot blend. While the two latter categories did provide for a system that acknowledged the difference between cool tones and warm tones, it is inadequate. We have tried to design a simplified color system with our new website that is based on the color spectrum, and uses color names which are simple and universal. We know that some will quibble over our choice of names, but will respect our attempt to apply some common sense to color-coding roses.
When we work with our customers in helping them to select varieties, we always like to begin with an understanding of the dividing line in the spectrum between warm and cool colors. Folks want a pink that is peachy or salmony, and the depth of the color is usually secondary. Warm colors appeal to some more than to others. Purples and lilacs have their followers. And not all reds are the same: crimsons and dark reds are generally cool colors; true red and vermillion (orange-red) are warm colors.
Color quirks are often alluded to in descriptions; striped and picoteed roses have their followers. We have determined to integrate this into our database, to provide you with a way to track down the common and popular color quirks; Bi-Colors, Stripes, Picotees, Spotted, Painted and Mutable roses. In the next few months we will add this feature to our search engine. We have also provided a glimpse at rose hips, their many colors and forms, and we will be integrating this as well into searching for roses on our site. We hope you will find these features useful and we welcome other suggestions to improve the information we can provide for you.
The Challenge of Providing Good Rose Portraits
Photographs are often misleading, and we count many of our own among them. All cameras are not equal, and digital photography which is so popular and useful today is still in its infancy. We now work with the latest technology in cameras, a digital camera in which separate sensors capture light of differing wave lengths, providing more accurate representations of reds and violets than most digital cameras can do. And, despite all the work that can go into making a good photo of a rose, we are still at the mercy of the individual monitors that visitors to our website are using.
In the past our site has been very much lacking in photos, good or bad. We are working now to correct this, and with this new website we offer hundreds of new photos. We will be adding many more over the coming year and our goal is to have every variety we offer represented here with a good photograph by the end of 2006. Meanwhile we urge you to make use of some of the wealth of information and photos of roses that are freely available on the internet. There are few websites with more to offer than www.HelpMeFind.com/roses. We also highly recommend www.rogersroses.com, with the exceptionally good photography and experience of Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix.