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Rose of the Month For January, 2004
by Nanette Londeree, Consulting Rosarian

It is often difficult for rosarians with limited space to plant a rose that blooms only once and that can get rather large. In the case of Complicata - it is worth it! In "The Graham Stuart Thomas Rose Book", Thomas says of Complicata, "In the light sandy soil in my garden, in close competition with a privet hedge, it has succeeded with little help climbing up to 10 feet into an apple tree, and creates a superb display every season. It should be in every garden where shrubs are grown, and will make a handsome solid bush if let to its own desires."

This rose is really lovely - looking like a cross between an Iceland poppy and a very large apple blossom. The single blooms grow up to five inches across and appear to have the texture of crepe paper. The flower begins as a pointed pink bud and unfurls to form a deep pink, cupped blossom with white at the base around a showy cluster of bright yellow stamens. It also has a light sweet fragrance.

This gallica was introduced in the nineteenth century and is thought to be a cross of Rosa micrantha and a gallica parent. The name comes from the Latin word meaning "folded" or "furled".

This lovely rose grows 5 to 6 feet in height and is covered with light green foliage. Its smooth almost thornless stems are vigorous and upright, and can be trained as a small climber. It is a hardy rose that can tolerate some shade, and is moderately disease-resistant. Graham Stuart Thomas description of this rose ends with, "When in full flower, no shrub is more spectacular."

Photo used with permission by © Wendy Annibell, Long Island, NY

Previous Roses of the Month:

November, 2003

October, 2003

September, 2003

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