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Award of Merit Article

Royal Sunset

A DOZEN WONDERFUL APRICOT ROSES
by Nanette Londeree, Master Rosarian

Does the color apricot bring to mind warm summer days, soft colors, and fuzzy textures? Abundant fresh fruit from the tree? Descriptive terms like light orange, soft pastel peach or pale sunset doesn’t really capture the warmth of the color. The ARS color classification uses apricot & apricot blend to cover a wide range of shades within this category, from the very pale apricot in Apricot Nectar, to a brilliant, nearly orange color in Cathedral. Yet the perennial favorite Just Joey, a rose that I would describe as a classic apricot colored rose (at least in our climate), is actually classified as an orange blend by the American Rose Society.

Most of the rest of the world does not use this color category, and the roses on this list would most likely be classified as orange. Old rose varieties include reds, pinks, whites, some purple (mauves) and yellows, but not this color. If you look for the “meaning” of different colored roses, you can find pretty consistent terms for most rose colors, but none for apricot roses. Orange roses are said to indicate desire, enthusiasm and fascination, while a peach rose can signify either sympathy or gratitude. Whatever the meaning of the color of apricot, it is a great one, and if you don’t have some apricot colored roses in your garden now, you may want to add one now.

Name Type Color ARS Rating Year Introduced
Jean Kenneally Miniature Apricot 9.2 1984
Royal Sunset Large-Flowerd Climber Apricot 8.9 1960
Loving Touch Miniature Apricot 8.3 1983
Ambridge Rose Shrub Apricot 8.2 1992
Buff Beauty Hybrid Musk Apricot 8.2 1939
Leander Shrub Apricot 8.2 1983
Alpine Sunset Hybrid Tea Apricot 8.1 1973
Autumn Sunset Shrub Apricot 8.1 1986
Joyfulness Hybrid Tea Apricot 8.1 1984
Westerland Shrub Apricot 8.1 1969
Alchymist Shrub Apricot 8.0 1956
Apricot Nectar Floribunda Apricot 8.0 1965

Four other roses in this color class that were AARS winners, and are still quite popular include: Brandy, Hybrid Tea, 7.3; Cathedral, Floribunda, 7.7; Medallion, Hybrid Tea, 6.9; and Valencia, Hybrid Tea, 7.9.


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