Rock rose flower (Cistus)

Crumpled Tissue Flowers: Cistus

The rock rose here (Cistus x purpureus) has been at it’s best this week. In the warm afternoon sunshine, the shrub has been absolutely covered in these crinkly pink flowers.

Now, however, those first flowers have gone over – shattered into lots of pink papery shreds lying on the ground. But I can see that there are plenty more flowers yet to appear, as there are lots of fat little buds waiting for their time to burst open.

These flowers are tightly packed inside their buds and emerge looking like scraps of crumpled tissue paper. They each last only a day and on a sunny day, there can be many flowers open at once. When I took these photographs, the rock rose had dozens of bright flowers, but early this evening when I looked at it, there wasn’t a flower left. Tomorrow morning I shall go out and see how many of the new flowers have opened in the sun. (In the UK, these shrubs are also known as ‘sun roses’.)

However ephemeral the flowers may be, the shrub itself has survived here for a long time. (Earlier white-flowered rock roses haven’t done so well and died in very cold winters.) It was planted not long after we arrived here, as part of a gravel garden.

Plans for this area have changed though, and it will become a mixture of veggie garden and somewhere to grow some wildflowers and other plants for bees. Our greenhouse will also have to be moved to this area, so I may have to cut the sprawling rock rose back a bit. Rock roses don’t like to be heavily pruned but I may be able to get away with taking off one or two of the longer branches. As insurance, I’ll try taking some cuttings from it too. If they root successfully, I’ll have some new rock roses to plant out in another sunny area. If I’m really lucky, they might even survive as long as this one has.

Rock rose flower (Cistus)

25 thoughts on “Crumpled Tissue Flowers: Cistus

    1. The first time I ever saw rock roses was many years ago, on honeymoon in Corfu. I’ve loved them since then and they remind me of that time. πŸ™‚

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    1. They make me smile – even more as a reminder of the first time I saw the white rock roses, while on honeymoon in Corfu. (Many years ago!)

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    1. There are so many buds that there’s a constant supply of flowers from one day to the next. Then suddenly they’re all gone, so I need to remember to enjoy them while they’re around.

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    1. It’s a really old shrub now, with branches that sprawl and spread a long way. I’m hoping that it won’t mind too much if I take a few of these back to the base. (I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t sprout from old wood.) In any case, I’ll take cuttings because I don’t know how long these live for.

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    1. They are very like helianthemums, just a lot bigger. I have a couple of helianthemums here too and one is a mass of flowers. The other has now got a bit more shade around it, so not as happy!

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  1. The Cistus has a very pretty flower. It sounds like you are going to be quite busy getting you garden rearranged! I hope it survives. I can hardly wait to see how it turns out!

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    1. I do have a LOT to do Syd! Some of it is as a consequence of neglecting parts of the garden during the last years of my parents lives, but they had to be the priority then. Now I’m trying to make the most of having a garden and it’s very satisfying!

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  2. My favorite white prickly poppy opens in the same way, with those crinkly petals. I’ll confess I’ve never been able to develop a real fondness for rock roses; I think it’s the color. I’ve never seen this variety, though, and I do like the differently colored accents. I didn’t realize that rock roses also can be found in white; that might change my view of the plant entirely!

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    1. I love the crinkliness of poppy petals. There are different white rock roses – plain whites and a white with similar dark red blotches on the petals to this one. Maybe you’ll come across one you like! πŸ™‚

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    1. They’re a Mediterranean plant, though of course, not really a rose. I first saw them on honeymoon in Corfu, many, many years ago. It was too cold in Scottish winters for them but they can do very well here. πŸ™‚

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    1. These are quite different from poppies, so might survive with you. They do need lots of sun, good drainage and not too much cold in winter. (I have lost some when we’ve had colder winters or lots of winter rain.)

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    1. That’s a lovely flower – reminds me a bit of hardy geraniums in appearance. And I like the colours which are so similar to the rock rose here.

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