It is often difficult for rosarians with limited space to plant a rose that blooms only once, especially if it gets 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, with petals 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 stunning rose grows five to six feet tall 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.”

By Nanette Londeree, Master Rosarian

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