ProfessorRoush must have been in a purple mood when he ordered roses this year because at least two of my new roses are deeply and darkly purple and others also have some murky red tones. The large velvety single at the left is 'Basye's Purple Rose', a rose that I had grown before for a couple of years and then inexplicably lost in the first year of the recent drought. I simply couldn't continue without 'Basye's Purple' in my garden, so I quickly replaced it.
'Basye's Purple Rose' is a Hybrid Rugosa shrub rose bred by Dr. Basye in 1968 as a cross between R. rugosa and R. foliolosa As the photo illustrates, this is a large (2.5 inch diameter) single rose with a deep velvety texture and large orangish-yellow stamens. I detect little or no fragrance in the rose and it doesn't seem to form hips in any appreciable number. It is supposed to be a 5 foot shrub, but my former specimen only made it to three feet and the current one is about the same size at 2 years of age. 'Basye's Purple Rose' does bloom in flushes, but it seems to cycle slowly for me; 3-4 flushes per year seem to be the maximum. Except for the death of my previous shrub, it seems to be a very healthy bush, with no blackspot or mildew on the mildly rugose leaves and few, if any, insect problems. It is fully cane-hardy here in Zone 6A. This year it was the last rose to bloom during the "first flush" in my garden.
One nice surprise is that 'Basye's Purple' has new canes that are strikingly red and strikingly thorny compared to the old canes (see the photo above right). No, folks, that's not Rose Rosette disease, it's just the way they're supposed to look. Somewhere in development, those prickles must drop off because the overall bush is not that thorny.
My second new purple rose, pictured to the right, is the old Hybrid Gallica rose 'Tuscany Superb'. I've lusted for this rose for years and finally found a source. In its second year in my garden, it stands around 2 feet tall and a foot wide and these were its first blooms here at home. This rose is a hard rose to photograph for me because I can't seem to get the color right. In real life, this rose is darker and has more blue tones than this picture shows. 'Tuscany Superb' was bred by Rivers prior to 1837 and is said to be a seedling of the ancient Gallica named 'Tuscany', although several sources say the bushes and roses of this "father-son" pair are hard to tell apart. Tuscany Superb' is fully double (around 60 petals) with a deep dark purple/red color and a moderate Gallica fragrance. Once-blooming, and hardy, it is completely disease-free for me, without even the hint of powdery mildew that many Gallica's have in my garden. 'Tuscany Superb' has already ended its bloom and receded into the green background as other roses begin their second flush, but I'll look forward to its bloom as a larger shrub next year.
I'll have another dark red/purple rose to show you soon, a Buck rose, but I just got the first bloom from it today and I'm waiting for a good picture of subsequent blooms. Stay tuned for a little known jewel that I hope is going to become a star in my garden.