Veilchenblau was introduced in 1909 with claims that here, at last, was the blue rose. Alas, it is not blue: rather, the flowers open purple and pass through shades of lilac and mauve and then to pale lilac grey – but, in that last stage, it is as close to blue as any rose gets. I am assured you can, sometimes, see the odd old flower that could be described as blue without bending the truth too far. I am yet to see it.
When the first mauve Hybrid Teas and Floribundas made their debut at the end of the 1940’s, they were met enthusiastically by the hybridist as a stepping stone for the desired blue rose, whose arrival no later than 1965 was confidently predicted. “Well, we are still waiting for it – and it appears that we may wait forever, as mauve roses contain no blue pigment. Their purple tint comes from the breakdown of the red pigment in combination with tannins.”
“Ignore the many optimistic names promising blue: so far the bluest of the Modern Roses are pale lilacs …” Blue Moon is a perfect example. Continue reading