Purple Roses MajestyBy Jan Recchio (grampapa)
April 6, 2008
In my rose garden, the purple roses grow in the "Dawn Garden". Dawn comes calling in all shades of pinks, roses, mauves, lavenders and purples. The pinks and roses have already been covered in another article . That leaves us with the next section of the color wheel.
As the reds just start to mix with the blues, you will find the mauves and mauve blends. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines mauve as "a moderate purple, violet, or lilac color." These are the majority of the purple roses. In fact, many of them will appear as more pink depending on climate and/or soil conditions. Here's a hybrid tea rose, 'Wild Blue Yonder' (2004, Carruth), which you might expect to be blue (or at least close to blue). It's anything but blue...more like a mood ring. It is pictured below from my garden and 3 other DG members', just to give you an idea of the range of colors.
|Photo credit: Kell||Photo credit: grampapa||Photo credit: alicewho||Photo credit: chicochi3|
I am a great lover of purple roses of all kinds, as is my wonderful DG friend, kassia, a frequent poster on the Rose Forum here at Dave's Garden. Both of our rose gardens are young, started last season, spring of 2007. I will share with you here some of our purple roses.
'Angel Face' (1969, Swim & Weeks)[l], floribunda. This rose gets to a height of 3' to 4' and blooms in flushes all season long in sprays of 3" blossoms. The fully double, ruffled blooms have a strong citrus scent. It is hardy to zone 6 and somewhat susceptible to black spot.
'Distant Drums' (1985, Buck)[r], shrub. With a fragrance like myrrh and anise, the 3.5" to 4" blooms have 40 petals. It repeat blooms well, has a mature height of 3' to 4' and is hardy to zone 5. It's most interesting feature is it's coloration "often with dusky purple lower petals and buff, or parchment, upper petals." 
'Ebb Tide' (2001, Carruth), floribunda. An unusual deep purple with 4", 26-40 petaled blooms, 'Ebb Tide' is good plant for the front of the border at 24"-32". It has a strong clove fragrance, an upright growth habit and blooms will repeat throughout the season. As you can see, both kassia [l] and I [r] are fond of this rose.
'Fragrant Plum' (1990, Christensen) [l], grandiflora. The name gives it away; strong, fruity fragrance! The bush is a 4' rebloomer with medium to large blooms with 20-25 petals. It is lavender with a deeper edging.
'Lavender Simplicity' (Jackson & Perkins) [r], shrub. This is an excellent hedge rose, 5' high by 3' wide, covered with clusters of 3.5" blooms. There is a strong citrus scent. Jackson & Perkins now has this available as an own-root rose. Grows in zones 5 through 9.
'Night Owl' (2005, Carruth) [l], large-flowered climber. Climbing to a mature height of 10'-14', 'Night Owl' is disease resistant and hardy to zone 6b. The 4" blossoms open in small clusters with a large flush in late spring or early summer, then sporadically for the remainder of the season. This rose can put on quite a show in full bloom on a trellis or arbor and has the added attraction of a spicy-sweet clove fragrance.
'Purple Heart' (1999, Carruth) [r], floribunda. Another of the purples with that spicy clove fragrance, this one is a season-long rebloomer. It has a very full blossom with about 40 petals and a 4" diameter. 'Purple Heart' is also available as a tree rose, or standard, which is the desired rose grafted onto a tall stem of a stock rose.
'Rhapsody in Blue' (1999, Cowlishaw) [l], shrub. Listed as a mauve or mauve-blend because these are the official categories, this rose is actually a smoky purple. Hardy to zone 6b, it can grow to about 6' in height. As with most shrubs, it blooms in clusters of smaller, 2.5" blooms all season. This is a good landscape rose and has a pleasant spicy scent.
'Royal Amethyst' (1989, DeVor) [r], hybrid tea. One of the parents of this rose is 'Angel Face' listed above and it has the strong, fruity fragrance of it's predecessor. It blooms all season with large (30-35 petaled) blossoms on a 3'-4' bush. An extra benefit is round orange hips in the fall. Hardy to zone 6.
'Shocking Blue' (1974, Kordes), floribunda, mauve) [l], floribunda. The only thing I find shocking is that I see no 'blue' in this rose at all. Not that it isn't lovely... it just isn't blue. What it is: very fragrant, repeat blooming, height of 30"-40" by 24" wide, large fully-double blooms in clusters, hardy to zone 7.
The rose in the opening thumbnail is 'Basye's Purple Rose' (1968, Basye), shrub (hybrid rugosa). The velvety 3" blooms are quite distinctive in large clusters on a bush that will mature at about 5' by 5'. It is not in constant bloom but does repeat. The strong, fruity, clove-like fragrance and excellent disease resistance sold me on this one. And it is hardy to zone 4.
There are many more wonderful purple roses for you to choose from. I am hoping that these are just enough to make you want to run out and get at least one. Spring is here and it's rose planting time in most of the country. Go for it!
A huge 'thank you' goes to kassia for her contribution to this article!
 Description from Rogue Valley Roses web site
Many of the facts about the roses were taken from HelpMeFindRoses.com
kassia: Ebb Tide, Fragrant Plum, Lavender Simplicity, Night Owl, Purple Heart, Rhapsody in Blue, Royal Amethyst
grampapa: Basye's Purple Rose, Wild Blue Yonder, Angel Face, Distant Drums, Ebb Tide, Shocking Blue, Dawn photo from my back yard