This fabulous old rose, Rosa ‘Tuscany Superb’ AGM, has golden stamens peeking out from behind deep purple velvety petals, which darken with age. It forms a sturdy shrub with almost thornless dark green foliage.
R. ‘Tuscany Superb’, introduced in 1837, is one of the few Gallica roses bred in the UK. It is probably a sport or seedling of ‘Tuscany’ – it is very similar but with larger flowers and taller, more vigorous growth; however, it does tend to flop and may need support to display the blooms to perfection.
Vita Sackville West favourite
Variously described as lightly to strongly scented, it was one of Vita Sackville West’s favourite roses and is loved by bees. This sun-loving plant was also known as the ‘Old Velvet Rose’ because of its velvety highlights. Like all Gallicas, it spreads by suckering when allowed to grow on its own roots, so if this could be a problem, make sure you buy a grafted plant which will not sucker easily. The foliage is resistant to blackspot but may be prone to mildew. ‘Tuscany Superb’ is also suited to container growing, makes a good hedge and it is excellent as a cut flower.
Best planted in a mixed border, it will look stunning combined with deep purple flowers and foliage. At Rosemoor, we grow this gorgeous rose in the centre of the Shrub Rose Garden, making sure no one misses it. Here we have planted it in groups of three in association with clematis trained on a metal support. Clematis Sunny Sky (deep purple/pink), Clematis 'Romantika' (rich deep purple), Clematis The Countess of Wessex (light pink) and Clematis 'Comtesse de Bouchaud' AGM (rosy-pink) make good colour combinations with the deep purple rose.
To lighten the planting scheme, we have used Geranium sanguineum 'Album' AGM with pure white flowers and Geranium sanguineum var. striatum AGM with pale lilac and deep pink veining, as a ground cover. It can also be found in the Cottage Garden where it fulfils the criteria of being an old traditional cottage garden plant.
Rosa ‘Tuscany Superb’ AGM features on the front of our new rose trail, which will be available in time for the beginning of the Rose Festival (17 June – 30 July).
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