Rosa ‘Tuscany Superb’: A Crimson Purple Gallica Rose With A Classic Old Rose Scent

A semi-double dark crimson rose with golden stamens

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.

29 thoughts on “Rosa ‘Tuscany Superb’: A Crimson Purple Gallica Rose With A Classic Old Rose Scent

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Okay, as much as I prefer the (now old fashioned but formerly modern) hybrid tea roses, and dislike so many of the reintroduced old fashioned roses, these types totally ROK! The name sounds familiar. I am wondering if I saw it in the Heritage Rose Garden in San Jose. I can not remember many of them, and I did not look too closely at those of this color range. Regardless, this one is pretty cool.

    • susurrus says:

      I saw my first rose of the year blooming on the 5th January – let’s hope that bodes well for 2019! The year before last I almost had a rose drought, though you’d never guess that from seeing my blog. I kept being in the wrong place at the right time.

  2. Oddment says:

    I don’t know which is more impressive, the glow of the rose or your intention to read (or reread) at least twelve of Shakespeare’s plays this year. I left such power reading behind in college. But I am very much looking forward to your posts as you delve into Shakespeare and botany — and then we’ll all be saying things like “anon” and “aroint thee!”

    • susurrus says:

      It won’t be a hardship. I got a book out of the library called “Shakespeare: The Invention Of The Human”. I always prefer reading the work than the criticism, but when critics are as enthusiastic as this one was, they make you want to read the text, which is when they’ve really done their job well. My pet hates are the Shakespearean critics who clearly consider themselves superior to the bard – except, of course, when it comes to rhyming stuff or that pesky playwriting thing.

  3. Alison Piasecka says:

    One of my absolute favourites! It can be a a bit moody with me, some years good, some years not so…but the combination of the velvet magenta petals and the golden stamens is quite lovely.

    • susurrus says:

      I suppose the way the season progresses and the weather around flowering time may have more impact on summer-flowering roses – they can’t bounce back with another flush of flowers later.

  4. specialkfraser says:

    Hi Susan! I grew this beautiful rose in my previous garden and can confirm it is a stunner. I love your photo btw. I would say medium scent. An absolutely lovely velvety rose…tended to get infested by aphids if I remember, but that’s nothing too problematic. I remember reading that it is far superior to it’s predecessor ‘Tuscany’ which is a tricky customer. 🙂 But I’ve never tried to grow it.

    • susurrus says:

      Almost everyone seems to agree R. ‘Tuscany Superb’ is… er, I won’t say Superber… more reliable, but the original R. ‘Tuscany’ is clearly a survivor. I have heard that it is possible for varieties to lose their vigour over time – perhaps that’s more likely to happen where there is relatively little material available commercially.

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