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'Tuscany Superb', aka 'Superb Tuscan', known since 1837, England.

Tuscany Superb'Tuscany Superb' is considered to be either a sport or seedling of 'Tuscany'. This is one of the finest of the Gallicas, illustrating why the class once earned the nickname, "Mad Gallicas", referring to their often wild and intense colours. If I had to choose but 10 roses to grow, this would certainly be on the list. Both 'Tuscany' and 'Tuscany Superb' are of the richest maroon crimson colouring, which darkens with age to a rich purple with blackish shimmering highlights. This was also colloquially known as the "Old Velvet Rose" because of the velvety highlights. It is a most extraordinary colour, and a favourite of mine.

The shrub is a well behaved grower, reaching a height of 4 feet or so. (Taller in a mild climate) Like all the Gallicas, it will spread by suckering when allowed to grow on its own roots, so in a small garden, it would be wise to limit it's space with an impermeable border sunk at least six inches below the soil level. Alternatively, buy grafted plants, which will not sucker easily. The foliage is resistant to blackspot, but can get some mildew after the blooming is done. It is not much of a problem though....just unsightly. Daily syringing of the foliage for a few minutes in the morning will eliminate mildew, as mildew cannot survive in a water-soaked environment. Believe me, it works, and is very appealing as an alternative to chemical sprays.

Click here to see a larger image!'Tuscany Superb' is an excellent choice for harsh winter climates; it will grow well in USDA Zones 4 to 8. ( Although in zone 8 it may be necessary to manually defoliate the plant in early winter in order to get proper dormancy and bloom in the following spring. ) It will set hips which turn bright orange-red in the fall, and if you are interested in growing your own roses, the seeds will germinate easily. (they must be stratified by chilling in the fridge for at least 12 weeks before sowing in the spring)
I have used 'Tuscany Superb' often in my breeding program, and found it to pass on some very valuable qualities, such as disease resistance, and cold hardiness. Many of its seedlings have been very beautiful roses. Click here or on the thumbnail at right for a larger photo.
This is a very fine Gallica that will always have a place in my garden.

ARS merit rating: 8.5
Personal merit rating: 9.5
Hardiness: Likely USDA zones 3 to 8, zone 3 in a protected location.
Shrub size: 4 to 5 feet tall X 4 feet wide

Fragrance: 3.5, moderate, earthy scent.

Alain Blanchard seedling,
(see Song of the Stars)
Chianti Gloire de France Sissinghurst Castle
Alika Complicata Henri Fouquier Song of the Stars
Allegra (new 2003) Cramoisi Picotee Hippolyte Surpasse Tout
Belle de Crecy "Deep Purple" James Mason Tricolore de Flandre
Belle Isis Désirée Parmentier La Belle Sultane Tuscany
Belle sans Flatterie Duc de Guiche Marianne Tuscany Superb
"Brooks Purple" Duc de Fitzjames 'Mécène' Tuscany Superb X Othello
Camayeux Duchesse de Montebello Nestor Un-named seedling
"Carol's Favorite" Ellen Tofflemire Orpheline de Juillet "William Grant"
Charles de Mills Empress Josephine Rosa Mundi Ypsilante
Cardinal de Richelieu Gallicandy "Rush Family Rose"  

Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 2006, All Rights Reserved.