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Object of Desire: Blue Roses

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Object of Desire: Blue Roses

June 1, 2017

Blue roses: do they exist? Plenty of roses have “blue” in their names, including ‘Blue Bajou’, ‘Blue Moon’, and ‘Blue Ribbon’. But to most people’s eyes (including mine), the flowers are a pale, silvery lavender.

Lovely in their own weird way (if Miss Havisham had a wedding bouquet, it would have been faded lavender roses), these so-called blue roses are coolly somber. You cannot imagine them doing anything as exuberant as, say, engulfing an arbor on Nantucket. But how refined and pretty a posy would be in a tarnished silver plate vase:

‘Blue Bajou’

A fragrant floribunda, a Blue Bajou Rose is \$\19.95 CAD from Palatine Fruit and Roses.
Above: A fragrant floribunda, a Blue Bajou Rose is $19.95 CAD from Palatine Fruit and Roses.

‘Applause’

Blue rose &#8\2\16;Seiryu&#8\2\17; by Takashi M via Flickr.
Above: Blue rose ‘Seiryu’ by Takashi M via Flickr.

In Japan, it took Suntory nearly 20 years of research and genetic modification with the pigment delphinidin to bring to market in 2009 its ‘Applause’ blue rose.  Working Australia-based biotech firm Florigene, Suntory inserted the same gene in a rose that blue pansies use to synthesize pigment. The result: another pale lavender rose.

A blue floribunda rose. Photograph by T. Kiya via Flickr.
Above: A blue floribunda rose. Photograph by T. Kiya via Flickr.

‘Blue Moon’

A Blue Moon Hybrid Tea Rose is \$8.49 from Burgess Seed and Plant Co. Photograph by Olaf Gradin via Flickr.
Above: A Blue Moon Hybrid Tea Rose is $8.49 from Burgess Seed and Plant Co. Photograph by Olaf Gradin via Flickr.

 ‘Blue Ribbon’

Blue Ribbon rose. Photograph by Takashi M via Flickr. A fragrant Blue Ribbon Rose is \$38 at Heirloom Roses (sold seasonally; currently out of stock).
Above: Blue Ribbon rose. Photograph by Takashi M via Flickr. A fragrant Blue Ribbon Rose is $38 at Heirloom Roses (sold seasonally; currently out of stock).
Are your roses blooming yet? Here’s more inspiration:

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