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: Rugged Roses and Rain


This has been a week of roses and rain. The rugosas are blooming a full two weeks early … and way ahead of anyone else. Even the peonies are not quite ready. And while they are trying to be gorgeous, the rains keep coming and beating them down. I just read the weather report and there is NO rain in the forecast for the next 4 days–yes! 😍☀️🌺🌹💃

Rugosas are often referred to as “rugged roses” because they can take most any condition. They are workhorses in my garden and they will most likely grow for you too. They are recommended for growing zones 3 – 9–which takes in a good many of us. If you are growing rugosas in the deep south, I would love to hear how they do and which ones you are growing. Occasionally I hear of people having trouble in our hottest areas.

I have about 15 rugosas … Hansa, Roseraie de la Hay, Therese Bugnet, Moje Hammarberg, Belle Pointevine and Blanc Double de Coubert. They form a thorny, beautiful, fragrant backdrop. The spring bloom is the most spectacular, but they do repeat bloom if you deadhead!

Here’s what mine are doing–in between downpours!

The largest one you see here is Roseraie de la Hay.
In front of the gate is Hansa.

If you turn up the volume, you can hear the birds on the video!

The lovely Therese Bugnet.
Roseraie de la Hay

 

Moje Hammarberg

Here is the fist bokay of the season. It may look gloomy outside this afternoon but it’s all lovely rose fragrance inside.

Early or late, these beauties are always welcome.


COMING ATTRACTIONS…

Look at this video of  Peggy Martin today … all loaded up with blooms. She’s gonna be amazing–just like her namesake! Stay tuned!


Rain or shine, I hope you are having a wonderful

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY!

The Long Goodbye

Today was that day. The day that the real frost arrived. I was out early to take some pictures. I never want to miss the garden with that first glisten.

Last week I was making bokays of roses — the latest I ever remember! I was thinking I was going to be like my Cali and southern garden freinds who always talk (brag) about having roses for their Thanksgiving table. I ALMOST MADE IT. One week out!

But, the roses are yawning and saying, “good night.” Time for a long winter’s nap. They were amazing this year, so I will “allow” them this time.

Last rose “glamour shots” of 2016…

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Thanks for stopping by!

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