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…

A Rose A Day: Grande Dame

The Grande Dame is a lovely and very fragrant hybrid tea.

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Here’s what Weeks Roses has to say about this 2011 release…

“Everything old is new again … or is it the other way around?
Here’s a clean mean flowering machine whose big bountiful beauties reek with old rose romance, style & fragrance. Each lovely blossom invites you to bury your nose…to swoon from the perfume of the ‘old time’ roses of your dreams. A big vigorous ‘shrubby’ bush whose nodding clusters, abundant deep-green leaves & low-thorned cutting stems provide a perfect touch to a landscape or bouquet.”

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This is my 3rd year to grow the Grande Dame and she always gets noticed.

This rose is a modern bloomer with old world charm and mixing old and new is what my garden is all about!

So, what do you think of her?

On Becoming a Rose Exhibitionist…

I have many new roses coming this spring and several of them are roses that have been recommended as roses I “need” to have if I’m going to become an exhibitionist…

So, since I plan to take the plunge, I decided to start out with some of the best…

FRANCIS MEILLAND HYBRID TEA

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Star Roses and Plants award winning rose! Here’s how they describe it…

Francis Meilland® is a tall Hybrid Tea rose with a very large bloom, good exhibition form and strong fragrance. It is a multiple award winner in Europe for disease resistance as well as esthetics. It is one of the first Hybrid Tea roses to win the prestigious ADR contest in Germany. 2013 AARS winner.

This remarkable rose bears the name of a remarkable rose breeder, in honor of his 100th birthday.

My friend, Chris, The Redneck Rosarian, says this rose grew to about 9ft in his garden last year. Wo…. Now the big decision is where to plant the two I purchased from Edmunds!

Tall, disease resistance, beautiful fragrance and beautiful form … I can practically see a ribbon on my entry!

GEMINI HYBRID TEA

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The picture of this rose in the Edmunds catalog plus all the raves from those who grow this rose made it very difficult to resist.

Here’s what Edmunds has to say about this beauty…

Creamy white with a coral edge on perfectly formed blooms. You won’t have to look at your horoscope to see if you are a winner with this rose as every flower seems to have perfect form. Its color will intensify as it ages and you will find it with long cutting stems and terrific dark green leaves to offset the flowers. Gemini signifies twins so you will probably want to buy it in quanities of two.

A must have for all exhibitors. It wins often.

I ask you, could you resist??

IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR…

This time of year hope springs eternal and all of us rose gardeners “know” that this will be the year. Any “issues” from last year have been forgotten and this year, well, it’s gonna be special… no more than a touch of blackspot, no drought, no thrips and certainly no more than a couple of Japanese Beetles. Add to that — big luscious blooms that the judges just can’t pass by!

I have a few more roses on my list that I’ll share a little later. In the meantime, do you have any exhibition quality roses, you think I might “need”? Please share.

And, if you are a “rose exhibitionist,” please leave me at least one tip.

Fingers crossed…

Gold Medal and Miss All-American Beauty

Saturday we found ourselves at Dammann’s Garden Center. Dammann’s is a wonderful place that just happens to carry an extensive line of roses! Sadly, not many garden centers in my area carry roses.

I found 2 beauties—Gold Medal and Miss All-American Beauty … AND, they were on sale! I gave them a shot of moopoo as soon as we got home and now they are nestled in with their neighbors. If we get the expected rain tonight, that will be just perfect.

Gold Medal…

  • Gorgeous yellow grandiflora (I already have one.)
  • Resistant to Black Spot & Mildew
  • Blooms on new wood; prune early to promote new growth
Gold Medal Grandiflora

Miss All-American Beauty complete with 3 stages of bloom…

  • Deep pink Hybrid Tea
  • Resistant to Black Spot & Mildew
  • “The original name for this hot pink diva was ‘Maria Callas.’ Although it was bred by Meilland in France it was named for the famous American opera singer.” -Dave’s Garden
Miss All American Beauty / Star Roses

Dammann’s has plenty more roses if you are in the market!