Rodger Randle: The Roses of December
The Roses of December
Winter, and Still Blooming
Early in the fall I had been to Woodward Park and was surprised to discover so many flowers in bloom. Is this typical, but just something I never noticed? I decided to come back to the park in December, in the middle of Oklahoma winter, to see if there were still flowers in bloom. Here is what I found...
This rose is as bright and healthy as spring time, though I suspect its colors are not as deep or bright as July.
This rose is small. It's at the end of the season, but it's colors combine well with the fall colors of many trees.
Perhaps this rose's color is faded, but it taken on tones of the season.
In the summer these colors would have been strong, but now they have become multi-colored. It is really a lovely effect. The rose has changed with the season.
Here is another flower that looks like mid summer. The yellow roses seem to be the best at holding their color.
The dark pink flowers blurred in the background are chrysanthemums.
It is fall and time to produce seeds and berries. Although very different from summer blooms, this has a charm and subtlety that makes it special.
This photo was taken in the Linnaeus gardens. These are definitely fall colors.
Also in the Linnaeus gardens, the Indian Blankets in this scene looks like July.
These look like new growth of springtime.
This rose is blooming, but by December it has lost its energy.
The planting area in December in front of the Garden Center has been filled with pansies for the winter.
Leaves of Fall
The colors of the fall leaves have a beauty different from the flowers of springtime, but bigger in their impact. Visit our page of Fall Leaves for more reflection on this season.
The mixture of fall colors is subtle, but nonetheless spectacular in a way that does not shout.
a concluding note about
the tulsa rose garden
The Rose Garden is located next to Woodward Park, a place full of hidden surprises. One of my favorites is the Ann Hathaway Municipal Herb Garden. It is small, but interesting. It is maintained by volunteers. In it you will find this statue of Ann Hathaway herself. When you visit the Rose Garden, take time to also explore Woodward Park.
The Rose Garden was a project of the Civil Works Administration (CWA). This was one of the first emergency programs to deal with the effects of the Great Depression and was created by the Roosevelt administration shortly after taking office in 1933. The CWA later became the Works Progress Administration that contributed many civil construction projects throughout the country ...most notably, in Tulsa, major improvements to Mohawk Park. (Mohawk has been neglected for so long that few remember that it was once Tulsa's showcase park.)

A cynic might observe that the building of the Rose Garden provided temporary work for the needy while producing a permanent amenity for the upper classes.

The Rose Garden today, however, is a different kind of place. Visitors come from a diverse spectrum of the city, and the volunteers that support it are equally diverse. It has become a place where truly everyone feels at home, thanks to the leadership of Laura Chalus at the Tulsa Garden Center.

Are roses blooming in December something we have often had in the past? Or is this something new? Maybe the exceptional warmth of this year (fall 2021) explains the roses in bloom.

In December (after these photos were taken, but reflecting the fall weather we have experienced this year) the average temperature was 10 degrees above normal.

Looking at photographs taken a year ago I also found flowers in bloom in December, so 2021 was not unprecedented.

On the other hand, we certainly don't include the Rose Garden on our list of Christmastime attractions to visit.

Laura Chalus, the excellent Director of the Garden Center, tells me that she also doesn't remember so many blooms so late in the year. But it may be that we just haven't being paying attention.

Or is this a phenomenon produced by climate change?

I'll go back in 2022 and provide an updated report.

Rodger Randle
The photos on this page are © Rodger Randle .

OU Center for Studies in Democracy and Culture

Prof. Rodger A. Randle, Director
The University of Oklahoma Tulsa
4502 East 41st Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74135