Blossoming at any season: the Confederate Rose

Lowcountry Confederate Rose

Lowcountry Confederate Rose

There is a pink flower abloom in the Lowcountry right now, in crisp October. Lanky, tall, and wild, the bush and her flowers are surprising us and flashing their opening pink pedals amidst tree size bright green branches, all over Edisto Island. The grand shrubs remind me of Hibiscus, except for the unusual, and well, yes, Chinese looking, huge graphic leaves, which feel modern and and fresh. And they also grow in sandy, shady spots giving them a certain wildness.

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.

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I was called to be an artist. And as an old old midwife said to me "If the Lord wants you to do something, you won't have no good luck' til you do." So, here I am, sharing what I love, longing to illuminate the work of art, which is everywhere.

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Posted in art, Arts & Culture, Charleston South Carolina, creativity, Green, South Carolina History, Writing
3 comments on “Blossoming at any season: the Confederate Rose
  1. Skip says:

    I like the fact that the Confederate Rose can bloom in any season and changes colors throughout the day. I thought of it as a metaphor for our disposition and life outlook – through seasons of cold and also of sunshine and warmth, we choose to bloom and be a light to others, our inner spirit and disposition changing as each hour ticks by, but warm and pleasing still – if we so choose. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Margaret says:

    Love this piece – saw one in full bloom the other day and it was so beautiful – big, big bush – I had only seen small ones before –
    And I adore the Nin quote – that is so awesome!

  3. Pinkney says:

    I love the whole hibiscus family and hope to plant some out near the cornfield.

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What’s this?

Welcome to my blog about the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a place proud with beauty, history and art. Sometimes we feel a call, to be, to go, to do. I was called to be an artist, and as an old midwife from Alabama said, “If the good Lord wants you to do something, you won’t have no good luck until you do it.”

So here I am writing about what I know, about the 'under glimmer' as the poet Basho, says, the way I have learned to see, to notice. I am inspired by, and talking about the history and art and culture of this place that has called me to herself. By the ancestors.

My background includes a degree in fine arts from a small private college in Florida, and before that, four years of all girls' boarding school in Asheville. I worked as a professional photographer, helped my children grow up, and now and I love seasoned things, good food, better conversation, beauty, my beloved and beautiful Italian Greyhound, Beau. Moved by the sacred places and stories of this beautiful historic land called the Lowcountry, I am here in spirit and I hope to infect you with my love of this place.

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