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Posts Tagged ‘Julia Child Rose’

1 The-McCartney-Rose

The McCartney Rose – Hybrid Tea, strong spice fragrance

David Austin, founder of David Austin Roses in Albrighton, England, was once quoted as saying that a rose without fragrance is only half a rose. What a perfect way to describe a characteristic so essential to the identity of America’s national floral emblem.

While the delicious, delightful, slightly mysterious and often fickle quality of floral fragrance is now considered a highly desirable trait most prized by rose lovers, it wasn’t always so. This quality was willingly sacrificed by rose breeders in the nineteenth into twentieth centuries. Why? Rose hybridizing is a game of compromise with one trait willingly forfeited to gain another. Fragrance was often the victim of hybridizing choices that placed higher value on superior floral form, unique and vibrant colors, increased winter hardiness and stronger disease resistance.

Flash forward 100 years and the rose buying public now long for highly scented roses and commercial rose growers know it. While fragrance is an inherited trait, the gene for fragrance is recessive and crossing two fragrant varieties doesn’t necessarily produce fragrant offspring. Due to this unpredictability of rose genetics, contemporary rose hybridizers continuously search for the right genetic combinations that will add fragrance to other desirable characteristics. Since it takes eight to ten years from pollination to retail introduction, restoring a characteristic as elusive as fragrance has taken decades.

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American Beauty

Fragrance is produced by oils in the petals of the bloom with different oils creating distinctive fragrances. The American Rose Society lists twenty-four fragrances, the most well-known is the classic ‘rose’ scent. This intoxicating old rose or damask scent can be found in many red and pink roses like the old garden rose American Beauty, David Austin’s Mary Rose, Mr. Lincoln, and Chrysler Imperial.

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Ebb Tide

Other essential oils are responsible for the spicy, clove-like scent in the floribunda Ebb Tide. Sniffing Graham Thomas yields the light and delicate tea fragrance while Julia Child imparts a strong anise or licorice scent.

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Graham Thomas

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Julia Child

But fragrance can be subjective because everyone’s nose is different. Two people may smell the same rose and each will offer different descriptions. Fragrance also is influenced by temperature, humidity and the rose’s stage of bloom. A fully open bloom will have more scent than a flower that is partially open; the intensity ebbs as the bloom goes by. A blossom may have a strong scent on a warm, sunny day; take the same bloom on a cool, cloudy, breezy day and the scent will be subdued.

Time of day also impacts a rose’s fragrance. The highest concentration of oils are found in early morning which is why roses grown for their attar of roses (oils extracted from rose petals) are harvested then. (Our experience has been that every fresh rose bloom exudes some detectable scent, however subtle, under ideal conditions.)

Clearly, rose fragrance is highly desirable and has become its own reward. The presence of discernable fragrance, or the lack of it, often determines whether a variety gets introduced or not. Each hybridizer of the genus rosa has their personal hybridizing objectives. Each is looking for that unique, exceptional variety. Each is prepared to spend a professional lifetime searching for that one perfect and fragrant rose, the magnum opus of a career.

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Playboy

It’s inevitable. Nothing prevents the arrival of cold weather finishing off another gardening season. As daylight diminishes and temperatures steadily decline, our bushes produce smaller and fewer blooms, but I’m appreciative of anything they have to offer.

 

Here are some photos of our hardy ever-blooming roses — the final blooms of the season.

Playboy is a showy floribunda giving us clusters of scarlet and gold throughout the summer. I was a bit surprised to find this spray a few days ago as Playboy usually shuts down by late October. (See photo above) The colors are a bit more saturated and deeper than blooms earlier in the season due to less sunlight and cooler temps. This was an unexpected bonus.

 

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Rina Hugo

Rina Hugo: what a season she had! This hybrid tea, hybridized in 1993, is a deep saturated pink and has given us flowers with perfect hybrid tea form — each bloom on the end of a long, sturdy cane.

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Rina Hugo (August Bloom)

Earlier in August, while our  Rina Hugo was amid a great second bloom, I cut some and put them in a vase.  A few days ago, Rina was well into her third bloom cycle on robust 24” canes.

 

What can I say about Campfire? (Photo below) This shrub keeps on blooming with its ever-changing palette of color. It’s not an exhibition rose by any means, but it’s a 10 as a garden rose adding color and interest in the garden up to first frost. This is the third season with Campfire and it has more than lived up to its reputation as a prolific, colorful bloomer on a highly disease resistant bush with an obedient growth habit — an unusual  combination of desirable characteristics found in a single variety.

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Campfire

Another late bloomer is Lady Elsie May. Like Campfire, it is extremely disease resistant and with its orange-pink flowers against glossy — very glossy — dark green foliage, it’s a delight to have in the garden.

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Lady Elsie May

Then there’s Julia Child. From both my kitchen and studio window, I enjoy Julia’s blooms almost every day. She typically doesn’t have a lot of blooms this late in the season, but each one is perfection. I’m still enthralled by Julia’s form and color and her anise fragrance is an added bonus.

4 Julia-Child

Julia Child

When I was walking through the garden taking pictures, I had a pleasant surprise. Pretty Lady, a rose bush I can’t see from any windows in our home, had given us a perfectly lovely, soft pink rose, surrounded by buds ready to open — if this unusually warm weather continues.

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Pretty Lady

So even though old man Winter is lurking around the corner, our roses are maintaining their domain as Queens and Kings of our garden.

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