I don't know how many gardeners -- what percentage -- are like me. I don't like cutting flowers for display indoors. I love bouquets, but I always feel I am cheating the garden out of what rightly belongs to it. A good friend of ours, florist and gifted gardener, protested my silliness. "But you should cut them! It's good for them; they'll produce more and everyone will be happy! Enjoy them!" I know he's right, but I still have a hard time forcing myself to do it.
I don't, however, have any such qualms about picking fruit or vegetables from the garden for our benefit. So what if a plant I grow for its blooms also produces fruit? One of my favorite roses, Old Blush, produces large hips if left on its own. I've always been interested in making rose hip jelly, but I am basically too greedy for blooms to give hips a chance to grow. Knowing that the more I prune, the more flowers this nearly ever-blooming shrub will produce, I remove spent blooms as often as I can.
The flowers, while not the spectacular bourbons I favor, are pretty, abundant, and have a light, sweet fragrance.
Pretty, ever-blooming flowers, sweet fragrance, healthy foliage -- what more could one ask of a flower? But that's not all Old Blush is good for. It's a fairly large, dense shrub, growing up to six feet, sturdy, disease-resistant, and makes a fine hedge. It is also very easily propagated. The first photo, in fact, grew from one of my own cuttings. Which brings me to my point: having two large, healthy specimans, I decided to finally try and let the hips grow. They really are so pretty. I won't pick them until they're nice and rosy (ha -- wish I could say that the perfect pun was intended). Yes, I want rosy rose hips!