Sunday, June 23, 2013

Distant Drums Disclosure

'Distant Drums', fully exposed
ProfessorRoush finally conceded to convention this summer and purchased the widely-acclaimed Griffith Buck rose 'Distant Drums'.  This uniquely-colored rose has been rising in popularity over the past few years, but I'd previously resisted it because that same unique-color just turned me off.  It always seemed a little murky, a little too mauve, for my tastes, and so I inevitably opted for other rose choices each time I considered it. 

I had sort of obliquely promised that I'd try 'Distant Drums' to Rev. Keneda of Red Dirt Roses last year, however and since I'm giving an upcoming talk this Fall about the Griffith Buck roses, I decided that I shouldn't give it without at least a season growing 'Distant Drums'.  I asked for it for Father's Day but it didn't appear, so I did what any good father would do and purchased it for myself under the premise that I am a decent father and deserved it.  In reality, my family probably wouldn't have gotten the name right anyway and I might have instead been given some hideous Hybrid Tea like 'Big Daddy' or one of the two frightful Floribunda's named 'Drummer Boy', so this seemed the simpler and more direct approach.

'Distant Drums' is a shrub rose introduced by Buck in 1984.  Officially a mauve or purple blend, I believe the bloom color of this rose varies with the temperature and season.  I've seen it as very "mauvey" coming from the greenhouse, but so far my (unfortunately) grafted specimen has fortunately been more orange and pink, a color combination that I approve of.  It seems to start with pinkish-mauve buds and then open up with gold tones to reflect the Kansas sun.  It will be interesting to see what it does this Fall as cooler weather hits.

'Distant Drums', early bud opening
The very double blooms have a strong fragrance and it blooms both singly and in clusters on a healthy bush with medium green foliage.  Obviously, I can't attest to winter hardiness of this offspring of 'September Song' X 'The Yeoman', but I expect it is fully winter hardy in my climate.  I can tell you that I've got a young own-root 'September Song' that was also started this Spring and I'm very impressed with it's rebloom rate, so I've got high hopes for the rebloom of 'Distant Drums'. 

As I look over the reviews and marketing for this rose, it is no wonder that 'Distant Drums' is growing in popularity.  A writer from Ellensburg WA wrote "This is an unusual color rose - sort of a coffee/cream inner color, fading to a mauve outer color. It has an antique look to it - very old fashioned feminine."  Feminine?  Obviously this writer is wrong because 'Distant Drums' seems to be a male rose to me.  The Weeks Roses tag that came with my rose was nauseatingly effusive: "Stop, Look, and listen up!...Distant Drums grows much like a Floribunda in habit, drumming out clusters of pointed brunette buds that swirl open to revel ruffles washed with orchid pink.  All this set to music against dark green foliage makes for a toe-tapping commotion in the landscape."  A toe-tapping commotion?  Hmmm, I haven't toe-tapped in my garden for some time.  And what, pray tell, is a "brunette bud"?  If Mrs. ProfessorRoush finds me growing other brunettes in my garden, I'll surely find myself bedding down in the gazebo. 


  1. I love Distant Drums. I find it a very charming rose. (And mine is definitely feminine!)

    She improves with age, too. Distant Drums may be my favorite Buck rose. Or would that be Quietness? Can't decide.

    1. I've got Quietness growing now as well. A beautiful rose, but the color is a bit common.

  2. Distant Drums is hardy in my garden; I'm 'officially' in zone 5 but because of altitude and distance from the big lake it's really zone 4. Some years it dies back a good bit but it always revives and blooms like crazy.

    I love the colors. From peach to pink to bronze to mauve and everything in between! Wait until you have a mature bush and it has flowers in different stages on it at the same time.

    Can you tell I really love this rose?

    1. Yeah, I'm late to the party. I hope it does well for me.


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