Even so, the 'Dortmunds' in my garden have struggled this year. They never really put on the big flush of blooms that they normally have in spring. They bloomed but the blooms were a bit sparse. And throughout the long summer, when normally they would have at least a few blossoms, no new blooms came. But finally, now that we are having slightly cooler weather and even an occasional rain, the roses are beginning to perk up a bit.
The plants are full of orange hips from the earlier blooms, but I noticed today that the first bloom of autumn had appeared and it looks like more are on the way.
The 'Dortmund's' rose hips are very colorful and decorative. They could be used in fall decorations or to make up a tasty batch of rose hip jelly. Or one could just leave them on the bushes, as I do, to be devoured by wildlife this winter.
My 'Dortmunds' were not the only ones that suffered in this summer of drought. The Arbor Gate, my favorite local nursery, has 'Dortmunds' climbing its entry gate and I couldn't help noticing when I visited throughout the summer that those plants were not doing extremely well either. So, I take comfort that my roses' less than stellar year was probably not due to anything I did or didn't do. Instead, it was the awful weather, the heat and the drought. Even a tough old rose is likely to need to rest under those conditions. Let's hope that 2012 will be a better year for roses and for the gardeners who love them.