I bought Mutabilis as an ex-colleague of mine, Jude, told me it was her favourite rose. With so many roses out there, to be someone’s favourite makes a very special rose.
Mutabilis means changeable and refers to the changing colour of the flower. They open salmon, turn to pink, carmine and, finally, crimson. The colour of the blooms deepens with age. Usually, all colours can be seen on the bush at one time.
The flowers have been referred to as butterfly-like and windmill-like; both descriptions are apt.
There is always a flower on the bush. It has an extremely long flowering period – from spring until it is pruned in late winter. It is still flowering when all my Hybrid Teas and Floribundas have given up for the year.
It is a large vigorous shrub and happily climbs if planted against a wall. If you are interested in how big it grows, it is the rose against the rainwater tank in my post From Small Things … This is one year’s growth. It is pruned each August.
It is an extremely healthy rose, it does not even suffer from black spot.
The origins of Mutabilis are unknown. Mutabilis was introduced in 1934 by Swiss botanist, Henri Correvon of Geneva, who obtained it from Prince Ghilberto Borromeo’s garden at Isola Bella. It is thought to have come, originally, from China.
Its parentage is unknown. It is a Rosa Chinesis.
Postscript: Maus has just reminded me that I have been to Isola Bella which is a small island off the coast of Taormina, a beautiful town in Sicily.