Meet Some of my Oldest Friends in the Garden

by Peggy Martin
New Orleans Old Garden Rose Society

Le Vesuve  / 1825 / China / Bred by Laffay 

As I walk out of my garage I see Le Vesuve every day blooming it’s head off despite close to 100 degrees in summer! All summer! It’s leaves are heavier than a normal China Rose, almost as thick and leathery as a Camelia, never a spot of disease! Le Vesuve is a nice showpiece in the middle of a long bed of climbers along my fence; always color showing.

Photo courtesy Leo Watermeier from Armstrong Garden

Archduke Charles / 1837 / China / Bred by Laffay 

Archduke Charles is another China Rose that is very healthy, has dark green leaves and gorgeous color from vibrant pink to red as it matures—like most of the roses with China blood in them do. Maturing to red is a characteristic gene of that class of roses. There is a look of two different roses on the same bush at the same time. It has a fragrance of bananas and is a seedling of Old Blush (from 1700s).

Reve d’Or / 1869 / Noisette / Bred by Ducher 

Reve d’Or is a workaholic rose in the garden, always blooming. It is very large against the same fence of climbers as Le Vesuve; going over and draping on all sides with beautiful roses starting sometimes in January and continuing all through the year. We are very fortunate to be able to grow roses that often bloom twelve months of the year. That was a criteria for most of my collection. I did not want to give space to only once bloomers. Reve d’Or has very heavy foliage, medium green with very heathy, disease free growth. I have seen some specimens of this rose in the French Quarter and uptown gardens on St. Charles in New Orleans with very old specimens that are two stories high!

Perle des Jardin / 1874 / Tea / Bred by Levet

Perle des Jardins is a old tea rose that has a beautiful Hybrid Tea shaped bloom when young with a soft canary yellow shade and all the good characteristics of an old garden roses. This rose is a sport of ‘Madame Falcot Seedling’ with intense fragrance and has stiff stems with dark green foliage for wonderful bouquets and floral arrangements. I first saw this roses in a bouquet of just those roses in 1997, so exquisitely beautiful, I had to have it and then have it again in my new garden. It softens to a pale yellow and open to a blousey shape as it ages.


Le Vesuve and Archduke Charles were some of the very first roses I bought when I learned of old garden roses in the 90s. Soon came along Reve d’or (Cloth of Gold) and Perle de’ Jardins. I loved the fact that those colors were available in old roses.After losing my roses in Hurricane Katrina, these four were some of the first roses I acquired for my new garden in Gonzales in 2005. All four were moved with a hundred others that had been given to me by such kind people who wanted to do something for me after Katrina. We moved them to our new home and garden in 2008 where they are still growing strong. -Peggy Martin

For more of Peggy’s story and the Rose that Survived Hurricane Katrina, read on here.