Monday, March 10, 2014

Raspberry Kiss (Eyes on Me)

Christopher Warner appears to have done it again! He seems to be able to crank out healthy, beautiful roses at will. I'd lusted for Eyes on Me on line for the longest time. Discovering Certified Roses in Texas imported and has begun distributing it to Lowe's stores led me to my only retail rose hunt of the year. I purchased a pulp potted Raspberry Kiss (Certified's American name for Eyes on Me) from my local Lowe's for a whopping $9.99. A lusty, husky, healthy, apparently budded, new British hybrid Hulthemia in a pot for $10. What could be better?

I expected it to have nice foliage, being bred from Len Scrivens' seedling, SCRIVbell. Not much is known about the rose, except it has also been used to create such noteworthy, healthy, beautiful roses as Blue for You and Bull's Eye. Per the Royal National Rose Society's article in 2013, it appears from the roses used to create Eyes for You, it is also related. 

The plant appears to be created from plastic holly. It's throwing flower buds at nearly every twig tip, and they're opening! Take a look at these leaves. They look good enough to eat! 

I didn't allow the first bud to open by itself as I had pollen I simply HAD to use on something and this was the only rose even close to ready. But, number two opened today and WOW!

Compared to the larger flowered types such as Jim Sproul's Eyeconic Lemonade and Eyeconic Pink Lemonade, these are on the small size.

The "blotch" is intense. I noticed it has an unusual texture where the petals attach to the top of the ovary which gives an interesting "cross" effect to the open flower. You can see it much more easily in the petals after I removed them from the bloom.

This is something I've not noticed in any other Hulthemia hybrid, much less any other rose. It is an interesting facet to the flower. 

Stamen color can vary greatly in roses generally, in Hulthemia hybrids, they can be strikingly dramatic. Raspberry Kiss's stamen are particularly beautiful. I've not observed any others which graduate from nearly yellow, through nearly red to an almost blackish-brown. They are gorgeous! 

I'm eager to see how this performs as the season progresses, but can already see it may be one of the better $10 garden purchases of the past several seasons. Stay tuned!