Is there really any true blue roses? One of the roses that has come close is the modern floribunda rose: Rhapsody In Blue. Bred in United Kingdom in 1999 by Frank R. Cowlishaw, this rose quickly became extremely popular because of the interesting colour and also the name - piggybacking on George Gershwin's musical composition: Rhapsody In Blue. (See and listen to video below). Are the flowers really blue? No - they are in shades of mauve, violet and purple. In some light conditions - dusk and dawn the flowers sometime appear almost blue!
I planted 3 in a group in 2004 - enabled by the fact that it was voted "Rose of the Year 2003" in England. I must say that it was not as blue as I had expected, and it had a strange growth habit the first years, sending up a few 4-5 feet tall canes with huge clusters of flowers above the otherwise spindly canes. Like many other roses it took some years to get established, but it became better over the years. Now that they have matured they are about 3 feet tall and wide. Here is one plant - as you can see it produces its flowers in big clusters, which makes the rose less suitable for cutting:
The flowers are semi-double and have a moderate sweet rose fragrance with aniseed and violet notes. They may not be blue but visitors in my gardens really like them for their unusual colour and are drawn to them always making them a subject of conversation:
Disease resistance was poor the first years - it seemed rather prone to Blackspot, but it also seemed to get better over the years - the last 2 years I have not been spraying them with fungicides and they are doing fine, I just remove the leaves that do get Blackspot and can control it this way.