La France. First. Fragrant. Fabulous.

Someone had to be first and in the case of hybrid teas, it was La France. When you hear the terms Old Garden Roses and Modern Roses do you ever wonder how to know which is which? Old Garden Roses are roses bred before 1867 …. when the first Hybrid Tea was named and that first Hybrid Tea — La France. This pretty, fragrant rose was found in France by the Rosarian, Andre’ Guillot. Parents of this rose are said to be Hybrid Perpetual “Madame Victor Verdier” and tea rose “Madame Bravy” —giving us a new classification of roses—Hybrid Teas! (Note: Her parentage is sometimes debated!😉)

While most old garden roses are one time bloomers, this new hybrid gave us blooms throughout the growing season. Hybrid Teas are said to be the most popular class of roses, much of that popularity comes from their being commonly used as “florist” roses with their long stems and high centers.

La France is a large shrub that would NOT be considered disease resistant–black spot and other fungal disease find her very attractive! She grows best in warmer climates. As a hybrid tea she has been surpassed in beauty, form and is no longer welcome in many gardens, however, few can surpass her in fragrance! As the first, she has historical significance, making her a sentimental favorite with a warm place in my heart. Yes, she blazed the trail that led us to the amazing repeat bloomers we have now.

LA FRANCE AND THE BILTMORE

The most beautiful bed of La France roses I have ever seen is in the Biltmore garden and what a perfect place for her. She is in the company of many other historical giants in the rose world like Blush Noisette. You cannot walk by La France without stopping to take in the damask fragrance and delicate features of this rose. The pictures show that this first hybrid tea does not have the growth habit of the more modern hybrid teas but a growth habit more like that of her historical parents with delicate stems that bow in the breeze — just adding to her charm.

La France is the beauty on the right.
La France is the beauty on the right.

LA FRANCE AND FRIENDS

My time at the Biltmore is filled with beautiful roses of course, but also rose friend reunions. Friends like Jim Wilson. Jim is a wealth of rose knowledge and in particular La France. In fact, he says the rose world is sometimes confused on which rose is La France (that parentage debate I mentioned!). At the end of this post is a video interview I did with Jim last year where he talks about this debate.

Fast forward to this year when Jim presented me with my very own La France! He grew a lovely plant for me to take home! This rose is over-wintering in my potting shed and has already given me several blooms with that amazing damask fragrance it is known for.

La France blooming in the Potting Shed.
La France blooming in the Potting Shed.

Fingers crossed that she can be happy all winter long in less than perfect conditions—dry, dim light. 😳 I am excited to see what she can do next year in a large pot in my garden. She’s a “diva” for sure and will require extra care but I’m up for it.

Jim’s thoughts on La France…

Bloom Thyme Friday: Biltmore Rose Trial Winners!

Last weekend on a perfect day in a enchanting garden we chose winners in the 2017 Biltmore International Rose trials!

Ping Lim for Bailey Nurseries, Inc. and Altman Plants, swept the show winning 5  awards. Ping

First up, winning 4 of the 7 awards for 2017 is Screaming Neon – including Most Outstanding rose of the trial. A rose you couldn’t miss. A beautiful, healthy rose just covered in bloom. It showed no sign of disease. This rose will be beautiful in your garden or landscape!

Awards for Screaming Neon were:

  • Lord Burleigh Award for Most Disease Resistant
  • Chauncey Beadle Award for Best Shrub
  • William Cecil Award for Best Growth Habit
  • And, the George & Edith Vanderbilt Award for Most Outstanding rose of the trial!

Ping’s roses have won in these trials before…
2015’s Gilded Age Award for Best Climber — ‘Flying Kiss.’
2016’s Pauline Merrell Award for Best Hybrid Tea — ‘Double 10’

Screaming Neon Bloom
Screaming Neon with it’s neighbors in the Biltmore garden

Ping Lim also won the Edith Wharton Award for Best Floribunda with the lovely Lion King.

The gorgeous Anastasia, bred by Michel Adam, won the Pauline Merrell Award for Best Hybrid tea.

 

And, TADA, the coveted Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil Award for the Most Fragrant rose goes to Dee-Lish. This rose is from the esteemed House of Meilland.

 

Dee Lish

Our time on the Biltmore Estate was lovely as always. It is a magical place especially when you have the opportunity to be in the garden when it is shrouded in fog. Enchanting. Magical.

If you have not visited the Biltmore, do put it on your list. You will love anytime of year, BUT ESPECIALLY when the roses are in bloom.

It has been quite a week. Color me a happy gardener…

Hope you have a fabulous weekend and a Happy Bloom Thyme Friday!

Biltmore International Rose Trials 2016

 The Roses, The Garden, The Hats!!

 THE ROSE TRIALS. . .

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There is so much for me to love about the rose world. Roses, rose friends and rose events add so much to my life. None more than the annual pilgrimage to judge roses at the Biltmore. What a pleasure to be in this beautiful place with so many beautiful friends. And, the roses, oh my, spending this last weekend in September in the Biltmore rose garden is truly ending my rose growing season on a high note.

ABOUT THE TRIALS:

The trial is dedicated to the backyard gardener and is open to professional as well as amateur rose hybridizers from around the world. Each trial lasts two years and a permanent jury judges the roses four times per year. Even in winter!

Roses are evaluated for their overall health and vigor, fragrance, disease resistance and their ability to rebloom. All things that we backyard gardeners are looking for. In my garden are several of the past winners and I am making plans to add a few of these as well! 🙂

And, the 2016 winner are…

POLAR EXPRESS (Kordes Sunbelt Collection)  Link to New Flora http://newflora.com/product/polar-express-rose/

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  • Best Growth Habit
  • Best Floribunda
  • Most Outstanding Rose of the Trial

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HONEYMOON (Kordes Arbors Collection) More info here.

  • Lord Burleigh Award for Most Disease Resistance
  • Gilded Age Award for Best Climber

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DOUBLE 10 by Ping Lim

  • Pauline Merrell Award for Best Hybrid Tea

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THE LARK ASCENDING by David Austin

  • Chauncey Beadle Award for Best Shrub

B/26A/06(M)LUC/HAxGC/MMT(10)

 An amazing collection!



THE GARDEN…

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Belinda’s Dream was so dreamy–I could hardly tear myself away! You can order this one here. Lucky for me, my Belinda’s Dream was blooming when I got home! (More about that here.)

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Pink Pet (Sometimes thought to be Caldwell Pink … read more about that here. Also sold at Chamblees.)

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Strike it Rich … Mercy! Tom Carruth has a winner with this one. Read more.



THE HATS. . .

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Marci Martin always lovely and always inspiring. Check out her FB page here.

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Tina VanCleave, Marci and I having just the best time!

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Jim Wilson and Susan Foxx.

 

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Debbie Clark taking note!

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Award winning rose grower, Cindy Dale, hard at work!

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George Ann Hamilton … so lovely in her pink!



THE BEST PART…

Mr. G and I were celebrating our 39th anniversary that day.

He is the VERY BEST!

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Biltmore Rose Trials 2014

I have had the privilege to be in rose fairyland. Nestled in the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the side lawn of the majestic Biltmore estate, the Biltmore rose garden was in perfect form for the second annual Biltmore International Rose Trials. A big shout out to Lucas Jack, Biltmore Rosarian & his crew and to Paul Zimmerman for his leadership and direction in establishing these trials.

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The Dynamic Duo … Lucas Jack and Paul Zimmerman

 The Garden…

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THE WINNERS…

Amidst a flurry of amazing blooms, these roses emerged as the winners:

Frances Meilland / Meilland / Star Roses & Plants
Pauline Merrell Award for Best Hybrid Tea

Francis Meilland (Picture courtesy Star Roses and Plants)
Francis Meilland (Picture courtesy Star Roses and Plants)

Tequila Supreme / Meilland / Star Roses & Plants
Edith Wharton Award for Best Floribunda

Tequila Sunrise
Tequila Supreme

Bejazzo / Kordes
Gilded Age Award for Best Climbing Rose

Bejazzo
Bejazzo Vased
Bejazzo in the garden...
Bejazzo in the garden… absolutely stunning from every angle.

Honorine de Brabant / Award of Excellence for Best Established Rose

Honorine de Brabant
Honorine de Brabant

Sweet Drift / Meilland
The Frederick Law Olmsted Award for Best Groundcover

Sweet Drift
Sweet Drift

Pookah / Polyantha / James Delahanty
The Honorable John Cecil Award for Open Group

Pookah
Pookah

Munstead Wood / David Austin Roses
Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil Award for Most Fragrant

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Munstead Wood

AND, THE BIG WINNER…

Miracle on the Hudson
Miracle on the Hudson
Miracle on the Hudson
Miracle on the Hudson

Miracle on the Hudson / Robert Neil Rippetoe

Chauncey Beadle Award for Best Shrub
William Cecil Award for Best Growth Habit
Lord Burleigh Award for Most Disease Resistant
George & Edith Vanderbilt Award for Most Outstanding  Rose (Best in Show)

None of these roses were grown with any special attention and no chemical sprays were used. The idea is to grow these roses in conditions that mimic that of a novice backyard gardener.

It was my pleasure to be up-close and personal with these lovely roses, and to join with some of my very favorite rose friends to be a part of a process that will result in more beautiful and sustainable roses for our gardens.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS!

More Pictures…

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For more on the Biltmore rose trials, read on.