Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Purple Power

'Purple Pavement' has been given its time on Garden Musings, but there are many roses out there in rosedom with deeper purple hues, and a couple of them have started blooming here in Zone 6A.  Among the purples, I grow the Old Garden rose 'La Reine' (right) currently blooming its head off, and the newer purple floribunda 'Rhapsody in Blue' (bottom left), just coming on.  Both are the "most purplish" ever, a hypercolorful  phenomenon that I feel is occurring in all my pinks and purple roses this year.  I don't know if it is the result of the hot March/cold early April/hot late April weather here or something else, but the colors of many roses all across town are much deeper this year.  I'm not complaining, mind you.

'La Reine', in 2005
'La Reine'  is an 1842 Hybrid Perpetual bred by Jean Laffay.  In my garden, this is a stiff upright bush of perhaps 5 feet in height.  It is an almost thornless rose and sports a very double flower about 4 inches in diameter, and it does rebloom once or twice during the year.  Some pictures on the web show it as pinkish-purple, and others as more purple like my picture this year, and you have to be careful to differentiate this rose from the shell pink bourbon 'Reine Victoria' when you search for it.  Pictures on the web show 'La Reine' in shades from pink to purple, and I've got pictures from 2009 that show this same bush in carmine-pink, and from 2005 (left) with pinkish-purple tones.  I much prefer the deeper purple of this year's blooms.  If these seasonal color enhancements hold true, I can't wait to see 'Charles de Mills' and 'Cardinal de Richelieu' this year!

'Rhapsody in Blue'
'Rhapsody in Blue' (FRAntasia) is a newish shrub rose bred by Cowlishaw in 1999 and introduced into the United States in 2007.  This semidouble rose opens flat with a  nice smokey-purple color and yellow stamens, but I am so far underwhelmed by the (lack of) vigor in the bush and the slow bloom repeat.  It reportedly grows to almost 8 feet in some areas, but it has yet to top 2.5 feet tall in my garden, partially due to extreme winter dieback in several of the 4 winters I've grown this bush.  What the heck, I'll give it a few years, now that I'm 6A and not 5B, and see how it does over time. 


  1. La Reine is absolutely beautiful, I wish I had one.. How big does she get?

  2. La Reine is about 5 foot tall and 3 foot in diameter in my garden at Maturity.


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