As I was reviewing my rose photographs during our latest snow storm, trying to envision what our garden will look like in just a few more months, I came across some photos of Crested Moss. I had taken these photos when we visited the Giardino delle Rose in Florence, Italy a few years ago and it was the first time I had ever seen a moss rose.
I recall walking through the rose garden that day and being delighted when I spotted Crested Moss (also known as Chapeau de Napoleon because the moss-covered sepals surrounding the buds are reminiscent of the tri-cornered hat Napoleon wore). Moss roses are unique because of this distinctive moss-like growth around the buds and bases of the flowers. In the photo above, you can see that the terminal bloom is encircled by at least 10 buds with pink petals peeking through what is often described as parsley-like growth. What a photo opportunity!
Moss roses are believed to have originated as sports, or mutations of centifolia roses. The mossy growth has a strong pine or balsamic fragrance most noticeable if the mossy growth is rubbed between your fingers.
Crested Moss is a “Found Rose,” discovered in 1827. It has rich, clear pink flowers with a yellow button eye in the center, a damask, spicy fragrance and is known for its disease resistant. It clearly looked disease-free in Florence with its unblemished foliage. It blooms once in late spring to early summer for several weeks. Our visit to Giardino delle Rose was in late May just as Crested Moss, as well as the rest of the garden, began to bloom.
We have never grown moss roses since we felt that they wouldn’t tolerate the hot, humid mid-summer Rhode Island weather. Now, after seeing the picture of Crested Moss again, I may just give it a try.