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Blue Roses
[From The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Roses, p. 9:] an Australian company has isolated the blue gene in petunias and has developed, via tissue culture, a 'Delphinium Blue' rose.


[From Mastering the Color Palette: Blue, by Christopher Lloyd, Horticulture, May 1999, p. 43:] More than half the flowers described in seed lists and plant catalogs as blue are some shade of mauve or purple. Truly blue flowers are few...


[From Meilland: A Life in Roses, by Alain Meilland, p.2:] If the long expected Blue Rose, of which my father and grandfather dreamed, should one day appear it will be the work of God, not of men. This is so even if in our day men have forced open the locks of our galaxy, have explored space time, have inventoried the living cell; and it will be so even if they are able to develop intelligence artifically... Note: The author wrote these words in 1969.


[From Meilland: A Life in Roses, by Alain Meilland, p. 7:] We know how to create a rose mauve in color by a chemical removal of the red from purplish roses (Lady X is a sample of this technique). Some roses that are classed as mauve are on the purple or lavender side of blue. One such rose is Diamond Anniversary.


[From The Rose Garden, by William Paul, p. 9:] The Rose was the favourite flower with the Moors of Spain, and they paid considerable attention to its cultivation. They sowed the seeds; and it has been said they had blue Roses, which were obtained by watering the plants with indigo water... a French writer (Marquis D'Orbessan, Essai sur les Roses) states that he saw them...


[From Roses Abroad: Promises, Promises, Promises!, by Sean McCann, pp. 14-15:] Over the years, there have been many stories of the lack of appreciation of a "blue" rose (at least they said it was blue). Sam McGredy II destroyed a blue rose many years ago. A few years ago, Sam IV told me he believed that had that rose been kept, it would have put the family half a century ahead of everyone else in the search for this elusive color. And why was it destroyed? The gardening public, the story goes, just would not accept it.


[From the November 1999 issue of Garden Design magazine (pp. 23-4), here’s some more news about the blue rose:] ... the race is on to create flowers in colors that God overlooked.


For irises, the elusive color is a true red; for peonies, a clear orange. But the best known of these quests is the search for the true-blue rose. As long ago as 1889, Henderson’s Handbook of Plants noted “itinerant venders who annually reap a rich harvest in disposing of impossibilities in flowers,” duping customers into paying $10 for a rose plant pictured “as having a blue flower.” Honest hybridizers have produced a number of so-called blue roses, which, to the undeluded eye, seem closer to lavender or mauve...


Now, though, this Holy Grail of flower colors has high-tech help, and scientists hope to deliver what those Victorian con men promised by inserting a blue gene, extracted from a petunia, into a rose. Florigene, an Australian genetic engineering firm, holds the patent on the blue gene and has already created the world’s first genetically manipulated blue carnation, which should go on sale next year.


The dream of producing a flower in a brand-new hue is driven by more than aesthetics. A 1996 Florigene report estimated that the retail market for blue roses may exceed $250 million.


[From The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening, Christopher Brickell, Editor-in-Chief, p. 114:] The blue rose remains the stuff of legend, despite the use of the word "blue" in such cultivars as 'Blue Moon', which is actually pale lilac.


[From Peter Schneider on Roses, by Peter Schneider, p. 20:] The blue pigment, delphinidin, does not yet exist in roses, and all mauve roses raised so far are really pink or red roses with less than the usual quota of pigment.

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