Cardinal Hume, bred by Harkness, UK 1984.
If you are attracted to deep maroon and purple colors in roses, this may appeal to you. Bred by the Harkness family, this is a very odd genetic mixture, including various shrubs, hybrid Teas, and the species, R. californica! It has a wider-than-tall growing habit, and is a well branched shrub. Be aware though, that in some climates it will get to be a very large shrub! (see below)
The smallish (2.5 inch) blooms are a rich tyrian purple hue with warm reddish tints too. The fragrance is not always very strong to me, but has a very odd mix of characteristics, not all of which are entirely pleasant to my nose! Sometimes it reminds me of the scent of dark red Trilliums! (I cannot describe what that is like!.....it's kinda stinky!)
From Peter Schneider: "Very well-clothed in dark green, matte leaves which have been very resistant to disease … the plant can grow tall, up to six feet … and can spread to eight feet across … always in bloom … The cupped, inch and a half to two-inch flowers are very double and are a dark, rich, red-violet velvet… The fragrance … is a delicious, spicy, strong cinnamon that carries very well on moist, warm air… Many smallish, round orange hips are formed over the course of the year … It roots extremely easily and may be trained as a single trunk tree rose grown on its own roots. [Rupert has] found it to be an excellent rootstock and a prolific parent. Its breeding possibilities appear limitless. 'Cardinal Hume' resulted from a very involved line of orange and lavender floribundas and hybrid teas mixed with shrubs and R. californica."
Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 1996-2006