Saturday, July 18, 2009

Are threre REALLY black roses? The truly black rose is like the holy grail of rose breeding. So far, it only exists in mythology. In actuality, the so-called "black" roses are dark red, deep maroon, or dark purple. I like some of the black roses even if they do fall short of being truly black. They can be quite stunning in the garden, particularly when companion planted with white flowers for a stark contrast.

One of this year's additions to my garden is Black Baccara. It's difficult to capture the true color of this rose on film, but the coloring in these photos is reasonably close. When this rose is in tight bud, it's dark...really dark...and does give the illusion of a black rose. As it begins to open, however, it's obvious that it's true color is a deep maroon red.

Black Baccara was bred by Alan Meilland (France) in 2000 and introduced to the U.S. in 2002. It's classic high-centered tea rose blooms, unusual color, long thornless stems, and glossy green foliage made it an instant success with florists. Dark red roses have long been popular for use in sympathy bouquets and in floral arrangements for funeral or memorial services. What could be better for such occasions than a rose so dark red as to be almost black?

Interestingly, the Black Baccara has also become quite a popular flower for bridal bouquets. The darkest red rose symbolizes the deepest passion (or so they say). Both these bouquets would be wedding showstoppers. Don't you think? But, I digress...

As a garden flower, Black Baccara has been a great performer. I put it in a partly shaded location where it gets morning sun only. The hot afternoon sun will either scald the blooms or cause the dark color to fade badly. The color of the blooms is not only effected by too much direct sun, but varies with temperature. Cooler weather will produce much darker blooms. As it warms up, the flowers lose a good deal of the dark pigmentation and look, instead, like a the deep red of Mr. Lincoln.

If you like dark red roses, Black Baccara should be in your garden. If for no other reason, this rose is a terrific long-stem cut flower that (with care) lasts a full two weeks in the vase. I use a tablespoon of bleach in the water and then replace the water and re-cut the stems after 1 week. If you'd like to intensify the dark color, add 5 or 6 drops of India ink to the water. Just don't leave that vase where it can be knocked over by children, pets, or clumsy husbands. LOL This rose's only shortcoming for me is its lack of fragrance. I think roses should smell as beautiful as they look and seldom choose varieties that have no fragrance. This rose is so exceptional in other ways, I chose to overlook this one point.

Black Baccara may not REALLY be a black rose, but it'll do for me until something better comes along.


lynn'sgarden said...

Oh, Jean, this rose is amazing! Your pics are wonderful! I try to plant roses that only have fragrance as they are a little more work to maintain and at least I want to enjoy their perfume..Ebb Tide is a dark, dark purple I grow..most fragrant of all, I think.

Jean La Rue said...

I'm with you. Fragrance is important in my choice of roses, too. Ebb Tide is a wonderful deep purple with a strong clove fragrance. It's another triumph for rose hybridizer, Tom Carruth. Bred in 2001, it was introduced to the U.S. market in 2006 by Weeks. Just goes to show how long it can take for a new variety to go through plant trials before it's deemed good enough for the marketplace. It's a variety I don't have...yet...LOL.

Linda S. said...

Your roses are beautiful & the bouquets stunning! I also prefer fragrance with my roses (those I manage to keep from the deer, anyway)!

Elephant's Eye said...

We've inherited a very deep red rose called Black Prince. It is fragrant, but haven't been able to track down any more info about it. Transplanted the very large, tall, old bush this winter. We'll see how it goes.

Cool Garden Things said...

Gorgeous! Very lovely arrangements-