Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bountiful Bourbon

'Coquette des Blanches'
It has taken only four years to realize that the Bourbon rose 'Coquette des Blanches' was a great selection for me to grow here in Kansas.  My records show that I planted it in 2007, but I have absolutely no idea where I came across this rose.  Several posters to the Internet talk about getting it as a bagged cheap plant at Home Depot, so perhaps that was where I found it in the spring of '07.  I also don't know, other than the fact that I love the Bourbon fragrance, why I thought this Zone 6 rated rose would grow in my 5B climate.  But grow it does, and it rivals the continuous blooming shrub roses in my garden for floriferousness in the summer heat.

'Coquette des Blanches' was a 1871 introduction by Mons. Lacharme, who was reportedly trying to breed a pure white rose.  Unfortunately for Mons. Lacharme, 'Coquette des Blanches' isn't white, but rather a blush white or pale pink. The French translation of the name, "vain of the white ones" is probably a snooty  comment on the impure color.  At least it wasn't grubbed out at birth, but was recognized as a beautiful and valuable rose to pass on to civilization.  The flower is fully double and slighly cupped, with a strong Bourbon scent.  It often opens to show that little green pip at the center that I appreciate in Old Garden Roses.  It stands about 5 feet tall here in the Flint Hills at 4 years of age, with a nice vase-like shape and healthy foliage, but I've seen descriptions from California where this rose makes it to 9 feet tall.  I can attest that it is hardier here than the Zone 6 it is commonly rated at because I've seen no winter dieback at all over 4 winters here in 5B.  No blackspot either, and I never spray it.

06/29/2011, 2nd bloom
The real value of this rose however, other than the beautiful pale pink tones of the flowers, lies in the fast and reliable repeat of the blooms.  This is not a typical Bourbon in my climate like 'Variegata di Bologna', repeating once, sparsely, if I'm lucky. in the Fall.  'Coquette des Blanches' blooms almost continously and drop cleanly, leaving no hips behind.  Just take a look at the second bloom phase, from June 29th of this year, shown at left.  Additionally, for an almost white rose, the petals don't turn brown and linger on the bush as 'Blanc Double de Coubert' or 'Frau Karl Druschki' are apt to do, but they fall away pink. I don't deadhead my roses, so you can see from the picture at the left that this is one of the most self-cleaning roses you'll ever grow.  My 'Coquette des Blanches' is in it's fourth bloom phase right now, just out of the extreme heat of summer, and every bit as covered as the 2nd bloom cycle pictured.

If and when you can find it, give 'CdB' a try.  I wish I could tell you where to obtain it, but you won't regret it if you get it in the ground.



  1. Soft pink with a bourbon scent. assez. Your posts are informative. It is nice to know the histories.

  2. I saw this rose on the Antique Rose Emporium (Brenham, Texas) website, however, it is listed as sold out. Could be useful for further reference, though, if they re-stock! It's beautiful! Sincerely, Texas Anonymous

  3. love bourbon roses~ wish more folks grew them! thanks for sharing over at Cottage Flora Thursday's this week! xoox, tracie

  4. Hm, I'm in zone5b and didn't think I could grow bourbons or noisettes. I do grow other old roses like damasks, albas and centifolias etc., but I think I'll try them. 'Coquette des Blanches' is a stunning bush. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Hope you can find it. It is a gem and did very well through the drought this year!


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