|My first 'Veilchenblau' bloom|
One of my Zonal Denial efforts last year was to once more obtain and plant, and to overwinter for the first time, 'Veilchenblau', a Hybrid Multiflora rambler-form rose that was introduced by Johann Schmidt of Germany in 1909. I first glimpsed 'Veilchenblau' at Wave Hill in 2008, where she was in full bloom on June 18th. I included her the following year as a "bonus" rose in an order of own-root rose bands, but the rose I received had one root in the grave when it came and died almost immediately after planting in the hot Kansas sun. Fortunately, good sense took hold as I read about her habits and hardiness, and I put aside my budding infatuation for 'Veilchenblau' and resolved not to try again. Last year, however, when I ordered 'Red Intuition' and needed to choose a minimum of three roses to complete the order, I saw her name in the catalog and filled her name in on my team roster. She may have been chosen last, but I put her in my starting lineup and I've told her to not be a shrinking violet.
|'Veilchenblau' at Wave Hill, June, 2008|
In Empress of the Garden, by G. Michael Shoup, 'Veilchenblau' is listed in a section called "The Elegant Climbers", and Shoup writes "A must for the garden, 'Veilchenblau' rarely suckers or spreads by seed. Easy to train and graceful, she blends peacefully into landscapes...her cooling colors settle softly over her foliage like a translucent fog..." She? Her? It is comforting for me to see that even the experts attach gender to individual roses and therefore it may not a sign that I'm missing a marble or four. Either that, or at least I might have an interesting cell-mate (Shoup) after they come and lock me away. If you are in the mood for a more gender-neutral but engaging discussion of 'Veilchenblau', read Mac Grisold's essay on her in Roses; A Celebration, edited by Wayne Winterrowd. Mac calls 'Veilchenblau' her favorite rose, and "beautiful and vulgar," "indecently purple," and "outrageous", but still manages to keep "it" a genderless friend. Who's fooling who?