aka 'Superb Tuscan', known since 1837, England.
Superb' is considered to be either a sport or seedling of 'Tuscany'.
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.
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
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.
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.
photographs and site content © Paul Barden
2006, All Rights Reserved.