Monday, May 18, 2015

Violet Veilchenblau

My first 'Veilchenblau' bloom
Okay all you rose experts, have you seen this one before?  This rose is about 1.5" diameter, blooms in clusters, and is also known as the "Blue Rambler."   Yes, I know, she's not very blue right now, but her red-violet tones fade to violet as she ages.  Her name, 'Veilchenblau', literally translates to "violet-blue".

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
'Veilchenblau' did overwinter this time, so although she is on R. multiflora roots, I'll forgive her as long as she continues to grow and covers the split rail fence I placed at her back.  She not very tall yet, my 'Veilchenblau', but she is supposed to reach 10-20' in a couple of seasons and be a fairly vigorous rose.  Although the bud above is the first to bloom, there are many clusters of buds on her and three vigorous canes have already sprouted and are approaching two feet high.  I'm hoping that next year she has stretched around the corner of the fence and is touching the two 'Red Cascade' infants that I transplanted recently.  'Veilchenblau' only blooms once a year, but I can forgive her since she is also nearly thornless.  References state that she is hardy to Zone 4b and she proved that to me this past winter, so another year or two and I'll get an idea what the old gal can really do.

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?


  1. I found your blog recently after becoming interested in roses. I planted my first rose last spring a carefree wonder. It quickly became infected with rose rosette however since I'm new to roses I had no idea what it was. This spring I decided to plant a carefree beauty and jeanne la joie. Then the same strange growth returned to my carefree wonder. So I decided to find out what it was. After deciding it must be RRD I dug it up and destroyed it hoping to save the 2 new roses I planted. Upon further investigation I learned RRD is found in multiflora rose and I learned we have multiflora rose growing all around our property and my neighbors property too. So I'm guessing my new roses will be infected soon and there is no way I can grow roses. I also live in Kansas. Do you know anything about getting rid of multiflora rose? Do you think there is any hope that I will be able to grow roses?

    1. Sorry to hear about the RRD. I've had a bout of it myself as you've probably seen on the blog. The only way I know to get rid of R. multiflora is to spray it or burn it until it not merely dead but really most sincerely dead. And I don't know what the transmission radius is; it could be miles.

      Don't give up on roses, but you may have to give up on the roses that you've grown up with such as Hybrid Teas.. Most of my Rugosas seem to be resistant (so far), and many of the Old Garden Roses (gallicas, damasks, etc) are. If you're not familiar with those roses, just search my blog; there's a tagged category for both.


Thank you for your interest in my blog. I like to meet friends via my blog, so I try to respond if you comment from a valid email address rather than the anonymous And thanks again for reading!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...