I Want (But Shouldn't) Reine de Violettes

ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9November 15, 2010

I didn't really understand all the fuss about RdV although I love purple roses and it's certainly very pretty. Then I saw and smelled a single bloom in person and I haven't been the same since. It's the combination of beauty and fragrance that did me in. I know I'd have to rip out another rose to make room for it (and it looks dauntingly large in photographs I've seen) and I doubt it could stand the heat, but I can't seem to stop thinking about it. Has anyone successfully grown this rose in a hot, dry climate? Is the rebloom even halfway decent? Does it always have such a wonderful fragrance? I'm almost hoping someone will talk me out of wanting this rose. Blackspot is not an issue here and mildew only a minor one, but many roses that I've discarded have left because the blooms have fried so quickly. Any input, positive or negative, would be much appreciated.


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I have resisted so far:-). It is not a small rose, nor very shapely I think. Stunning blooms.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 6:17PM
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greybird(z7 TX)

RdV is a prima donna. Requires a lot of amending to bloom well, which is one huge flush in the cool of spring and sometimes one flower here and there throughout the long, hot and dry summer.
I grew this rose for 4 years in the same spot. The spectacular spring showing kept the shovel away. This fall, I decided I just didn't want to look at the retched appearance (most of the year) for the sake of that brief, but brilliant show. So into a 5-gallon pot and out into the ghetto RdV went. Replaced by Rosette Delizy, who loves this eastern exposure spot.
If you have an out-of-the way place that you don't have to look at all the time, plant it there. Otherwise, I would not bother with this one.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 8:01PM
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I struggle with this one. The leaves on mine are chlorotic, even more so that the one in the picture. It gets alfalfa, organic fertilizer, and a top dressing of composted horse manure as well as regular water and still it has never really taken off. I've left it in its place because of my memory of the beautiful one in Jon's garden in Wessex, but honestly I ought to take it out and plant something that would be happier there. There is an HP to either side (Glendora and Yolande d'Aragon) and both are happy, healthy roses, so it's this variety, not the class that struggles here.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 9:11PM
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Aw, Ingrid, I was all set to fan the romance but then greybird pooped on your parade. I agree, I guess. Get the rose and put it in a nice big pot in your coolest, shadiest spot (your ambient light is probably plenty bright) and baby her. DO NOT dig up another rose to make room for her. Make her earn her keep and make sure she knows the score - be good or be gone. I think you'll probably enjoy the experiment - for a while anyway.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 9:11PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

Thank you everyone for the much-needed reality check. (Even Masha's picture showed hinky-looking leaves.) I'm afraid I don't do pots, have no coolest spot that isn't inside the house, and spring lasts about ten minutes. No, I'm over my crush, thanks to you, and I actually feel relieved. This romance was not meant to be. I'll just go back to admiring my tough and beautiful tea roses.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 1:10AM
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lagomorphmom(z10Coastal and z8Mtn CA)

I don't have it either, but to put the nail in the coffin, isn't that rust in Masha's picture? THAT, I bet you do have, right Ingrid?

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 11:06AM
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aimeekitty(9-10, SW 18)

the band I got still only has three leaves after a year, Ingrid.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 12:31PM
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RdV rusted TERRIBLY here and that was it for her (sort of -- I saw the other day she had re-sprouted, of course. If it was a rose that I wanted to clone...).

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 1:50PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

RdV had no disease problems in my Coastal SoCal conditions.

Chlorosis, however, was another kettle of fish.
Our soil/water are very alkaline, and she HATED that.
White leaves give an odd effect.

Still, chlorosis or no chlorosis, and despite her virused state, she did bloom generously, spring and fall, for 20 years.
Then, she died.

I love this rose, Ingrid, but I want to caution you about one thing. The color.
In MY garden, RdV was genuinely lavender, in the blue range.

The first time I exhibited it, an eminent inland SoCal judge DQ'd it as mis-named. He "knew" that the color of RdV was HOT PINK. And, indeed, in hot inland gardens, it is that pink color that Poiple roses turn to when it's hot.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 2:38PM
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organicgardendreams(z 10)

My Reine des Violettes is only around a year old. She is still in a pot and she seems not to mind it, even though she probably would have grown more when she would be in the ground. Since I have her she bloomed in spring and in autumn. Her leaves have not been chlorotic in spring and summer, but have a slight tendency now in autumn, it is not too bad, though. She has no problems with rust here even though other of my roses have. As small as the rose still is she already gives you an idea about her unruly growh habits.

It seems to be the case that this is a rose that is a diva, BUT boy she earns it: The color of the flowers is soo... special, unlike any other rose. Her blooms are beyond beautiful (I have yet to see a photo that is capable to capture the full beauty of the color of her flowers), they just take your breath away. The fragrance is equally wonderful. She is truly a one of a kind rose!

Ingrid, I hope that you re-think your decision in terms of RdV. I feel the blooms of this rose are so special that the rose is worth it that you to give her a try, especially since you really seem to love them. You never know, maybe she will like your garden better than you think. Roses can surprise us sometimes!

I for once will definitively keep her in my garden, pamper her and do everything that I can to make her happy. Hopefully I can grow her in a satisfying way and she will give me some of her spectacular blooms in return. If that is the case I will lightheartedly embrace her flaws.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 6:20PM
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I wanted to know what all the fuss was about so I ordered RdV from Pickering 2 yrs ago because my ownroot band did not survive its first winter. I am now growing the Pickering RdV in a large container. I think I now understand what all the fuss is about, but this is not a rose that I'll give a permanent place in my garden. As long as its growning happily in its pot, though, I'll keep it around.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 8:16PM
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gnabonnand(Zone 8 Texas)

It's hot & dry here & I've grown 'Reine des Violettes' for many years in my garden.

True tea roses are much more adapted here, they thrive ... and I like them.

China roses here are bullet-proof ... and I like them.

Polyantha roses are perfect for my small landscape, they "fit" scale-wise ... and I like them.

But 'Reine des Violettes', I don't merely "like".
There's something intangible, something much more. One smell of her incomparable & consistent aroma, one gaze at her gallica-like bloom form, that perfect button-eye, the heart-melting color, those harmless thornless canes.
Sometimes the things that are most memorable, the most special, are not the easiest or the most rational.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 9:11PM
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gnabonnand(Zone 8 Texas)

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 9:31PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

Randy, you and Christina are soooo bad. Why do you want to torture me like this when I was totally convinced this rose was not for me? Did you have to be so poetic and lyrical? It's not fair. I am NOT buying this rose at this time. But I do have to agree that the fragrance is to die for. I know Christina will let me smell hers any time I want to. Meanwhile I'm putting your gorgeous pictures into my permanent file.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 11:03PM
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gnabonnand(Zone 8 Texas)

Ingrid, I'm glad you have one to sniff & enjoy at Christina's, when you need a 'Reine des Violette' fix.

I can relate. One of my favorite rose scents is 'Belinda's Dream'. Although I no longer grow BD in my garden, I enjoy walking to the neighbor's and taking in that fragrance whenever I want.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 9:16AM
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In my desert climate, she has white leaves (chlorisis I assume) and hasn't yet bloomed, has been in the ground about 1 1/2 years. I haven't given up on her yet though. I have very alkaline water and soil although my soil has been heavily amended. I guess she doesn't like the water.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 10:26AM
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aimeekitty(9-10, SW 18)

jasper, you might try feeding her (like you would an azalea).

not that I'm one to talk with my cup-sized-year-old-RdV. But her 3 leaves look better now.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 11:17AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Here the Rust was horrifying. Long gone.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 3:23PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

For some reason I have no rust in my garden. I had one rose that had rust, which was Gruss an Aachen. It was a new rose and, even though the bloom was pretty, I ripped it out and threw it away far from the roses, and have had almost no rust since, except on Classic Woman, another rose I no longer have. Now I'm rust free (well, maybe except for some in my knee joints).


    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 9:31PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

You get those really hot summers. Maybe that kills off the spores.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 9:40PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

I think you're right Gail. Since I would never spray I'm very lucky that I don't have to. I think not tolerating the few roses that do carry disease here is the other part of the equation.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 1:44AM
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Xtal(z8b Temple. TX)


I see that you are in Texas and the same zone I'm in. I wonder if we could chat about some of your roses? I'm in Central Texas.

I understand your desire. So what rose did you choose instead of this one?


    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 3:35PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

xtal, I didn't really choose another rose since this one was a rose I wanted but didn't need. However, I'm very much looking forward to my spring Vintage order of Cl. Lady Hillingdon, La France, Comice de Tarn-et-Garonne and Zalud House Rasberry Shingle.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 5:35PM
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She is one of the new roses I ordered for my new old rose garden. She has grown very nicely in the short time she has been in the ground. The ground here is more acidic than alkaline, and she has a large bud which I am hoping will open before winter really arrives here.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 5:42PM
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She does great at my house, except that she has to be sprayed for BS. I do that for her, because she is so beautiful. Grows like a weed. Blooms on and off from spring to fall. Blooming right now, actually. Denise

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 9:35AM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

Denise, I'm glad she's doing so well for you. Your location confirms for me that she likes a more humid climate. My 15-20% humidity for most of the year would probably knock her socks off.


    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 11:30AM
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Campanula UK Z8

rust is a nightmare here with this rose - as soon as we get a little autumn rain (and we usually get plenty). Overall, rust is not usually much of an issue for me - I have only ever had one rose which was susceptible (although I have not got experience with hundreds of them like some of you) and, as it was a beloved Madame Gregoire Staechelin, I was prepared to pick and burn every leaf with a trace of rust but I definately could not manage to do it for more than one rose plant. It looks grim in a couple of the college gardens so I would give it a pass.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 11:59AM
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jannorcal(No CA z9)

There is a virus indexed plant of RdV in the cemetery. After a couple years the thing looks like a pathetic single cane with no foliage or substance to the plant.
I saw RdV in England this year at Mottisfont. It was drool worthy.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 5:30PM
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