Thursday, April 21, 2011

Joy for Lajoie

Of climbing roses, I think my favorite is a diminutive little fille named 'Jeanne Lajoie'.  Those who grow it know that I'm referring to the popular miniature pink climber of perfect form that, at times, has been the highest rose rated by the ARS.  Although my aging memory is suspect, I think she at one time had an overall rating of 9.3.

I have two 'Jeanne Lajoie' specimens, a mature bush that grows on a south facing limestone wall to around 6 feet tall, and a younger specimen planted two years back that is currently at about 4 feet on one side of a copper pergola.  Both are on their own roots and doing well at this time.  Her pink double buds are a perfect pink shade for matching with other plants and they come in continuous clusters to cover her supporting trellises most of the spring and summer. The blooms are a darling miniature hybrid tea form, sufficient to win exhibiting awards, and the dark green leaves do not require spray in my Zone 5B arid climate, although I think she gets a little rose scale against my wall.  She seems to be very winter hardy in Zone 5, and I've seen no dieback at all, although I probably should admit that my south-facing limestone wall is probably more a Zone 6 microclimate.  I would classify her scent as mild, but sweet.

'Jeanne Lajoie' was a 1975 introduction from breeder E. P. Sima.  There seems to be some controversy about whether she was named by Ed Sima after the daughter of one of his wife's friends, or named by the introducer, Ernest Williams of Mini Roses in Dallas Texas, for a daughter of a Texas friend (who legend says exhibited the rose as a young girl and is supposedly now a middle-aged dental hygienist), or whether she was named after a famous French prostitute named Jeanne LaJoie.  The "LaJoie," by the way, translates from the original French to "La Joy" and is pronounced "La Jhwhaaa," but I'll stick with "La Joy" to pronounce.  Regardless of the name's origin, the rose 'Jeanne Lajoie' was a beauty pageant winner right out of the gate, winning an America Rose Society Award of Excellence in 1977.  'Jeanne Lajoie's parentage is a hybrid seeding of 'Casa Blanca' (a white climber) and 'Independence' (an orange-red floribunda) that was crossed with 'Midget' (a red miniature) but somewhere in there, there must have been some pink genes.  I understand she makes a beautiful free-forming shrub as well, but for right now, I'll keep her up against a warm wall until I see how my second specimen fairs in the free flowing air of the open trellis.

1 comment:

  1. In my garden, Jeanne Lajoie grows as a semi-freestanding shrub ... she can lean against an adjacent fence, but she isn't attached to it at all. Her canes go up, then they fountain over, and she makes a lovely, gracefully arching focal point. Here in Virginia, she gets a bit of blackspot, it's never bad enough to make her unsightly. She is definitely a rose that more folks should consider growing!

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