Tag: pink flowers

‘Complicata’ and ‘Veilchenblau’

I don’t have a very good excuse for pairing these two roses together: one’s a gallica, the other a rambler, one has huge flowers, and the other has tiny ones. However, they were both in bloom on the back fence of our farm at the same time, so let’s just call it a marriage of convenience. Here’s a quick video to see what these roses are all about:

Now the more in-depth description of each, for those who want a little more detail.

‘Complicata’ is a rose of unknown parentage, but is presumed to be a hybrid of Rosa gallica and Rosa canina. It’s and old rose, but not ancient – known to be around since around 1800, but not much before that. It can be used as a large mounding shrub, or trained up as a climber. Here’s a close-up of some of the flowers:

The individual flowers can be up to 4″ across, and are a luminous pink with white centers and prominent yellow stamens. In mid-spring, the shrub blooms all at once in large clusters.

Later in the season, when the flowers have faded, ‘Complicata’ is covered in large round hips. This is an adaptable shrub: it can be grown in full sun or part shade, and is extremely cold-hardy.

‘Veilchenblau’ is about the closest thing to blue that I’ve seen in a rose that doesn’t involve dye or genetic modification. Bred a little over 100 years ago from a multiflora rambler, this is one is a little space-hungry – to the point of voracious.

The buds and newly opening flowers are cerise in color, but soon fade through to the “violet blue” for which it is named (in German). ‘Veilchenblau’ is a once-bloomer, but the bloom period is so spectacular that it earns its this rambler a large place in the garden for the whole year. In addition, the long stems are thornless, making pruning and management a lot easier. Full sun or part shade will suit its needs.

For both of these roses, save your pruning until after flowering, then prune for both shape and size.


The simplicity of this rose makes me think that it’s close to a species rose, but nobody knows for sure. It’s classed as a gallica, maybe for lack of better information. While most near-species roses are nicest grown as a free standing shrub, I think you’ll find it rewarding to give ‘Complicata’ something to climb. You’ll find nicer pictures out there, but here’s one I snapped in the garden (aphids and all!):Rosa 'Complicata'

The blooms are dark pink at the edges, white nearer the center, with prominent yellow stamens. What you can’t see here is how large they are! The only other single I know to compete on bloom size is ‘Altissimo‘. The large size of the flowers, their simple form, wonderful scent, and the fact that it blooms in one main flush of flowers makes this a stunning shrub (or better, a climber) in early Summer.

‘Complicata’ can grow to 10 feet with some support, or to a lax shrub of 6 feet or so. It also sets hips after blooming, for fall/winter interest. We sell ‘Complicata’ for $10 in a 2 gallon pot.


You know this rose, even if you don’t know that you know this rose. ‘Bonica’ is so widely planted by landscapers that you’ll see a light pink rose at a strip mall or gas station, my first bet would be ‘Bonica’. I grow it because it’s a great garden rose, but I did pause in propagating it. Why should I offer it, I wondered, when it’s already out there in great numbers? Am I really adding to the diversity of roses available to local customers. No, not really. But I go back to my previous point: I grow it because it’s a great garden rose. If someone comes to me looking for a reliable pink landscape rose, I might offer them ‘Ballerina‘ or ‘Belinda’ first, but if they like ‘Bonica’ better, they’ve picked a winner nonetheless.

Bonica‘Bonica’ will bloom softer or deeper pink depending on the weather. Every bit the landscape shrub, this rose is adaptable to any situation. Leave to grow freely, and you’ll get a wide graceful shrub to about 4 feet tall and wide. If you want it for a smaller garden, you can control it with pruning, and it won’t harm the performance of the shrub.

Disease resistant, vigorous, free blooming, well-behaved – no wonder the landscapers like it. We sell it in 1 gallon pots for $10 and 2 gallon pots for $15.

Sophie’s Perpetual

I might never take a picture that properly captures the blooms of this rose. IĀ could blame that on my lack of photography skills, but I also have an excuse: ‘Sophie’s Perpetual’ has an unusual kind of translucence to its blooms. The petals are often much darker pink towards the edges. So go ahead and search the internet for better pictures. I’ve included two here. The first is of an early season cutting, eager to bloom right away. The other is 8 months later, and might even be the same plant, blooming into late October. That should say something about how free-blooming ‘Sophie’s Perpetual’ is.


This rose is classed as a China rose, but because it has a powerful fragrance that seems more like a European rose, some have called it a Bourbon rose, like the early China/Damask crosses. When dealing with a rose that is discovered in an old garden, rosarians just have to guess at the lineage/identity of the rose. This one was discovered in the garden of Sophie, Countess Benckendorff, thus the name ‘Sophie’s Perpetual’.

Whatever mystery there is about the origins of ‘Sophie’s’, I have no wonder about how this rose has earned a place in gardens since its discovery. Remarkable blooms with remarkable scent, healthy appearance, good vigor, and just overall charm. The shrub grows to only 3 feet or so, which makes it a nice addition even to a smaller garden bed. I myself seem to include Sophie as one of my first choices whenever I begin a new project. And why not? She attracts a lot of attention, and requires very little fussing. Besides, I just like to say “Benkendorff” when people say “Sophie who?”.

I sell this one in 1 gallon pots for $10 and 2 gallon for $20.

Rose de Rescht

If you were to look up ‘Rose de Rescht’ in a book or on another website, you’d probably read that this rose was discovered and collected by a prominent rosarian near the Persian city Rasht (spelled differently in French, apparently, and now in Iran). A bit of history like this can fire the imagination, and makes it easier to sell a rose, which is probably why it’s been repeated so frequently. Heck, why do you think I’m adding it here? (…aside from the fact that it seems obligatory when discussing this rose).

However, in my mind ‘Rose de Rescht’ doesn’t need a gimmick to sell it. Pluck a flower, hold it to your nose, and you’ll know what I mean. To my senses, this is the strongest and best scent of any rose I grow, all on an old-school fully petaled bloom that is actually a bit redder than it shows in this picture:

Rose de ReschtAnother virtue of this fantastic roses is a compact, rounded habit, which makes it appropriate to add to a mixed planting in a smaller garden bed. The blooms repeat extremely well for an old garden rose. In my garden, I’ve found it to be relatively free of disease problems, and I’ve read elsewhere that ‘Rose de Rescht’ is tolerant of difficult planting conditions, including some shade. We sell it in 1 and 2 gallon pots for $10 and $20 respectively.



Stanwell Perpetual

I don’t have a great nose for scent in roses, but when my timing is right, I can find a good Damask scent in ‘Stanwell Perpetual’. If you don’t know the scent I’m talking about, it’s what you’d smell in a perfume made with rose oil, which is harvested and distilled from Damask roses. As insensitive as my nose may be, I can tell you this: not every rose has this same scent. Some people describe the other rose fragrances as fruity, as spicy, or compare them to tea or cloves or licorice. I can’t really get all that specific myself, but I can pick out the scent of a Damask rose in this one just fine.

‘Stanwell Perpetual’ is a chance seedling from a garden, so the actual breeding would be a guess, but it most closely resembles the Scots rose, Rosa spinosissima. I do also grow the species, and they look alike most respects, but the flowers in ‘Stanwell’ are larger, fuller, scented, and instead of setting hips, ‘Stanwell’ repeats bloom later in the season.

Stanwell PerpetualThis is the rose in a 1 gallon pot. This picture is taken after the soft pink of the largest bloom has faded to a creamy white, but I do like the way this picture shows off the foliage and abundant buds. The habit of the rose is low growing, and because of its toughness, ‘Stanwell’ is great for putting on a sunny bank, or even in a more shaded location. It will, of course, do better in a more pampered location, but if you need a rose for a challenging location, you could hardly do better than this one.