What you've observed are fruits of the rose, called rose hips. As you noted, they look similar to small apples, which are close relatives of roses. Rose hips are edible, as long as you haven't used pesticides on your plants. They are a good source of vitamin C. However, most gardeners prefer to enjoy the hips for the color they add to the fall garden. As the gardening season winds down, it's nice to know that good things still lie ahead. For late-season interest in southern gardens, few roses can top 'Old Blush' (Zones 7-9), a beauty with semidouble lilac-pink blossoms and large orange hips (a climbing form is also available). In the North, 'Frau Dagmar Hartopp' (Zones 2-9) flaunts reddish hips the size of tiny apples, along with foliage that turns reddish purple and golden. Both roses are almost as lovely in September as they are in May.