Unlike my spoiled 'Maiden's Blush', 'Madame Plantier' gave me quite a display this year, young though she was. She was covered from head to toe for three weeks with 3 inch blush-white blooms, and every one of them just as perfect as the picture to the right. No blight, no browning buds, no thrip damage. I think "scrumptious" describes this rose best. Somewhere, in my reading, I had gained an impression of 'Madame Plantier' as being less than a star, so I had avoided her until recently. What a mistake that was, because a star she is!
'Madame Plantier' is an 1835 Alba bred by Plantier of France. Well, I think she's an Alba. Some references list her as a cross of Rosa alba and Rosa moschata, while others list her as a Damask rose, the result of a cross of R. damascena and R. moschata. Regardless of the actual heritage, the clustered blooms lose their blush as they age, much like a young lady growing into womanly maturity, and they end up flat with a nice button eye. The bush is almost thornless, completely hardy without protection here, and completely blackspot and fungus free so far. I've read that she's going to get much bigger, and the canes will stay flexible, so I've provided her lots of room for her anticipated 8 by 8 foot size and drooping arms. What a spectacle that will be!
While researching this rose, I stumbled upon a reference that characterized the scent of 24 Old Garden Roses, and so I can report that Madame Plantier contains 31.44% 2-phenyl-ethanol, 28.11% benzyl alcohol, 21% hydrocarbons, 8.63% geraniol, 5.91 % nerol, and trace amounts of 20 other organic compounds. Do we really believe that we can take the essence of a rose and distill it to a few carboniferous chemicals? Blasphemous! This formula is TMI (too much information) and reveals too much of the soul of this beautiful rose, and so I will now attempt to forget I ever heard it. There are none so cynical as a rosarian who has seen a favored rose stripped of its mystery.