Suntory, a Japanese Whiskey Distiller, has used genetic engineering to create the impossible – the world’s first blue rose. Blue roses have a number of legends and meanings attributed to them – they are said to grant the owner youth, to show hope against unattainable love, and to signify a sense of fantasy if given as a gift. With this triple marketing whollop, it’s no wonder Suntory was willing to spend 13 years and $27.8 million developing them.
Ever the horticulturist, my first thought on seeing them was about the petal count. Roses in the Pacific Northwest do best with at most 45 petals, with 25 petals or less being ideal. The more petals you get on a rose, the more moisture they hold, so in our climate a lot of petals means one thing: mold. No word on the petal count of these babies, but I guess we needn’t concern ourselves with it – they aren’t planning on selling them as plants just yet. The blue rose is going on the market in 2009 as a very upscale cut flower only.
Much as I’m not a huge fan of most roses – the thorns, the spraying, the pruning – it’s a gorgeous shade and would add an element to a garden that’s hard to find – so many of our violetty-blues are groundcovering, like ‘Rozanne’ Geranium or so many Campanulas. Let’s hope they do a bit more work on it to make it a sturdy plant and release it soon. I bet J & P are salivating!