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Distant Drums

Distant Drums
Rose of the Month For January, 2007
by Barbara Picarelli

Dr. Griffith Buck was a professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University, and was an excellent hybridizer of modern roses. His main goal in hybridizing was to breed roses that were able to survive the harsh winter temperatures of -26F without protection. Of course along with that were disease resistance, repeat bloom, good flower form and color and vigorous growth. That he achieved most of these things in his roses is quite amazing. Many of his roses are still in production today, one of which is ‘Distant Drums’.

Patented in 1985 but newly released again, this rose is listed as a shrub/floribunda in a mauve blend. With parents of ‘September Song’ and ‘The Yeoman’, this lovely rose is an unusual rose-purple shade, also listed as a cyclamen purple tinted to tan and paling into a gray lavender with age. Obviously quite a range of coloring. It has ovoid pointed buds opening to a bloom of 35-40 petals, borne in clusters, imbricated, and 4-5 inch blooms. This rose is also very fragrant with a heavy myrrh scent. Foliage is dark green and leathery and the plant is erect, bushy and vigorous in growth. This plant will bloom from June to frost, and is winter hardy for those who live in very cold climates.

Unfortunately some of the roses he hybridized have been lost, but another one still available is ‘Carefree Beauty’. Both roses are available from Weeks Roses.

Photo courtesy of "Growing Roses in Iowa", Iowa State University Extension

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