Friday, September 23, 2011

High Hopes for Marie

As a late summer treat, I finally got a semi-decent, but still a bit blurry, picture of a bloom from a rose that intrigues me right now.  Let me introduce you to a fairly rare rose in the States, the now-heirloom hybrid tea 'Mme. Marie Curie'.

I received this rose last fall as a free rose in a shipment from Rogue Valley Roses, and it went into my "Barden" bed along with a number of Paul Barden's Gallica creations.  It was a fairly weak looking specimen and I knew it was a Hybrid Tea, just marginally hardy in this climate, so I coddled it all winter long with one of my then-new glass cloches.  Through this hot dry summer, it struggled a bit, giving me a hint of a beautiful yellow bloom every once in awhile, but never appearing healthy until lately, as it sent up the two nice strong canes pictured below.  I hope it has turned the corner for me.

'Mme Marie Curie' is a 1942 rose bred by Gaujard of France, and it is known as 'Quebec' in Europe.  It was introduced into the US by Jackson and Perkins in 1943 with the name 'Mme Marie Curie', and it was a winner of an AARS award in 1944.  It bears a large, 5 inch, Hybrid Tea-form bloom of about 25 petals and although the first blooms have been fleeting and small for me, I have noticed that the petals don't fade to light yellow as most yellow roses do, but they dry and remain a very vivid bright yellow.  HelpMeFind only lists this rose as hardy to Zone 6B, so it may take some special winter care in my area, but I'm willing to provide it for a few years until I fall in or out of love with this rose.

My yellow beauty here is named for the discoverer of radium and polonium, the widowed and famed Polish-French scientist Marie Curie.  I remember reading as a boy about Madame Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel, and the  the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences.  This rose obviously has a high standard to live up to.  You need to be careful searching for this rose on the Internet, nowever.  Enter only "Madame Curie" and "rose" and you get a 1997-vintage orange and pink floribunda of that name that is not nearly as attractive as the pure yellow of the older Hybrid Tea.  I also found a white Japanese-bred climber named, in English, "Marie Curie IYC2011" that seems to be recently introduced.  I suppose we'll someday need a brochure to separate the roses named for this icon of early 20th Century science.  A collector's bed of roses named for Marie Curie, anyone?

(Got to run now.  The younger version of Mrs. ProfessorRoush has just darted into the room, needing the family computer pronto.  Can't a man blog in peace?) 

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