Rosa ‘Tuscany Superb”s semi-double flowers are full enough to amply frame a central boss of golden stamens, lifted by glimpses of white around the eye. The petals have a rich, velvety character. You’ll see ‘Tuscany Superb’ described as maroon, purple, crimson, burgundy. I’ve contented myself with crimson-purple, but you can take your pick! As the flowers age, their colour darkens.
We have relatively few scented, crimson-purple rose varieties, and this one remains popular with those who are willing to grow roses that are summer flowering (the industry term for once-flowering). While some roses are grown as a thorny deterrent, ‘Tuscany Superb’ rose is prickly at best.
Depending on which expert you believe (in the absence of the luxury of having a bloom before you to savour), the fragrance is either medium or strong. Everyone agrees on its character, which is a classic Old Rose fragrance.
The original Rosa ‘Tuscany’ is a great survivor at over 400 years old, so could – at a stretch – be one of the roses Shakespeare knew. Though we can be sure of little about his personal life, Shakespeare must have been interested in plants and flowers as references to them appear so often throughout his poetry and plays. I’ve challenged myself to read or re-read at least twelve of his plays this year, so brace yourself for a few more references! But back to the roses…
Rosa ‘Tuscany Superb’ is an improved version, likely a seedling or cross of the original. A relative youngster, it can be documented back to 1837, the year Queen Victoria came to the throne. It’s a little taller and more upright than the original, but also has a nice, shrubby character. Its roses are a little larger and more double.
While we’re fortunate that some UK growers are dedicated to preserving diversity and grow a very wide selection of roses, few plants will be propagated each year if demand is low or plant material is limited. ‘Tuscany Superb’ rose is relatively easy to source in the UK, at least, (just check out your favourite rose supplier) but ‘Tuscany’ may be more of a challenge.
I seem to have been writing about roses a lot recently for various reasons, including here and here for newcomers to my blog, but how could I resist responding to Bren’s Photo of the Week (Roses)? I’m also linking to Cee’s Flower of the Day in the hope that while you’re over there, you’ll also take a look at her wonderful entry for Bren’s rose challenge.