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Coming Up Roses: Pretty purple rose boasts heavenly fragrance

Ebb Tide Rose” width=
Julia Isaac/Special to the Town Crier
The color of Ebb Tide roses changes in response to temperature and light. In the early spring and late fall, when the temperature is cooler, the flower is a deep, smoky purple. In the hot summer, it transforms into a violet-red.

I want to introduce a beautiful purple rose called the Ebb Tide. Ebb Tide may be the deepest, darkest, most scrumptious purple rose I’ve ever seen. If you love purple roses, this is certainly one for your collection.

It was bred in 2004 by Tom Carruth, an American award-winning rose hybridizer who has created more than 100 rose varieties, including 11 All-America Rose Selections. The AARS, regarded as the most prestigious rose prize in the U.S., has been replaced by the new American Garden Rose Selections program.

Ebb Tide rose flowers are double, old-fashioned, 3.5 inches and have 35 petals. The shrub grows compactly, but it can reach 4-feet-by-4-feet. The growth habit is upright with medium-size, dark-green, semi-glossy foliage. It blooms in flushes from April until December in the Bay Area. Not to mention the plant has excellent pest and disease resistance.

In addition to its unique and striking dark-purple color, the Ebb Tide’s intense heavenly fragrance is a major selling point. Its scent is a very strong combination of clove and citrus blossoms. The classic rose smell is rich and elegant. Its smoked, deep plum-purple color and strong fragrance are rare to find in average bouquets.

Ebb Tide has a complicated parentage that includes three mauve roses: Big Purple (Stephens 1986), Blue Nile (Delbard 1980) and Sweet Chariot (Moore 1985).

Ebb Tide flowers change in response to temperature and light. In the early spring and late fall, when the temperature is cooler, the flower is a deep, smoky purple. In the hot summer, it transforms into a violet-red. In the same blooming, however, you can somehow still find the beautiful deep purple hidden in the shade, whereas others bloom in a mauve color.

I planted an Ebb Tide rose in a partly shaded area of my garden, and it looks happy there. The rose makes an attractive statement in the garden or in cut flower arrangements.

The flowers open very quickly when the temperature is hot. Cut flowers earlier to make your bouquets, right when the buds start to open. You can mix the Ebb Tide with other colorful flowers to make an eye-catching bouquet.

Trust me, you will love them. They are unforgettable and incredibly lovely.

Michelle Isaac is a gardener in Los Altos. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Julia Isaac contributed to this column.

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