Monday, July 21, 2008
Tuscany - The Old Velvet Rose
Imagine a rose with dark red, almost burgundy colored petals glowing like rich exclusive velvet, and showing its yellow stamens like the sun setting an early summer evening over the sunkissed hills of Tuscany.
Tuscany: a gallica rose of unknown origin, dating back to at least 1596 is that very beautiful rose - often called 'the old Velvet Rose'. Gallicas are Old Garden Roses. Before 1753 when Karl Von Linné classified them as Gallicas, they were often called Rosa Rubra - Red roses.
Tuscany is one of the smaller more compact growing gallicas. Like other gallicas it is very winter hardy and over the years forms a nice 3-4 feet tall and 3 foot wide shrub. It takes a few years to get established, but over the years it will bloom for about 3-4 weeks at the peak of summer here or late spring in lower latitudes and warmer climates. Gallicas actually need winter chill in order to bloom well, as many with great grief in warm climates have experienced. Gallicas have a suckering habit meaning that it will send up genuine shoots - whether you have planted the rose as a own-root plant or a bare-root plant it will sucker. Over a 5-10+ year period that will make gallicas form a dense shrub - I prune my gallicas down by a third after they have flowered and remove old or dead canes. When flowering, the weight of flowers weigh down the canes and it is a good idea to stake the bush so the canes do not flop to the ground. A Sport (Random genetic mutation) of Tuscany gave a rose that was a bit more vigorous and had more double flowers and is called Tuscany Superb. I do not find it as beautiful as the original.