Turns out it is not a rose as all, but indeed a unique Chinese shrub that happens to grow well in the Southern states that once seceded from the Union -The Confederate States – and our dear South Carolina is her queen it seems, having been an insistent voice. The name for the flower is a popular one. The flowering shrub is also referred to as the cotton rose, I suppose for the same regional reason.
According to the horticulturalist, the flower is properly identified as hibiscus mutabilis, and it grows on plants that are shrublike and can grow to a height of twelve to fifteen feet. The Confederate rose has the unique property of changing color during the course of the day. The bloom on the rose opens in the morning as a beautiful white or a subtle pink, and gradually darkens during the course of the day. By evening, the petals typically achieve a deep red appearance. The individual blooms are usually within four to six inches in diameter, with the petals possessing a delicate and somewhat billowing appearance. In deeper portions of the southern United States, the shrub tends to grow larger. Around the perimeter of the region, the rose tends to function more as a perennial, and may grow to a height of six feet, and typically, Confederate rose shrubs will feature a large number of blooms at any one time.
All I know is that the blooms made me squeal with delight and scramble for cutting scissors and a ladder to look up close and beg them inside for closer inspection. Turns out they do fine in my vase, and the new tight buds can be coaxed to open, and all morning I have been thinking of what Anais Nin said about blossoming buds…. ” And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
What a lovely metaphor for fall. A reminder for us that as a pink flower we may blossom in any season.