Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Isaac's Wife

'Madame Isaac Pereire'
While I'm on the subject of Old Garden Roses, one of the biggest mistakes that I've made in gardening (up until now) is to have waited this long before trying to grow 'Madame Isaac Pereire'.  This grand old lass is but a yearling in my garden, and her health, beauty and productivity is rapidly making me into an avid fan.

'Madame Isaac Pereire' is a dark pink Bourbon rose bred in France in 1881 by Armand Garcon.  The rose is named after Fanny Pereire, the wife of a prominent French banker, who used the inheritance after his death to honor his memory and simultaneously have this rose named after her.  In a very Continental twist, Pink Ladies and Crimson Gents reveals that Isaac Pereire was Fanny's uncle as well as her husband, a bit of salacious gossip that I somehow can't resist keeping in memory.

I was afraid of this rose, in my previous Zone 5B garden, because of her often-rating of Zone 6, and so I simply never applied Zonal Denial as a growing technique in her behalf.   But, come to find out, she did just fine as a one-summer-old unprotected shrub last Winter in my garden, and she's started back in this year without a pause.  Reputedly one of the most fragrant of all roses, I agree with the crowd about her strong bouquet, but I am insufficiently talented to confirm that tones of raspberry are prevalent in her ambiance as stated by others.  The very large and very double flowers are often quartered, and they hold their form as long or longer than most of the Bourbon class.  The bush form is sprawling, as you can see in the picture at the bottom of the blog, and I now understand first-hand why previous admirers like to stake her out in the garden to encourage bloom all along those long limbs.  I know that some consider her a short climber, with strong canes up to eight feet high, but I'm going to trim her as a shrub.  My specimen is a moderately vigorous bush, already this season pushing up 4 new large erect canes above the three foot level, and she's very healthy, with less than 10% of her unsprayed leaves bearing blackspot and with no noticeable defoliation.  I've seen no mildew on her matte green foliage here in Kansas.

She was sparing of her blooms in that first summer, and so, until recently, I believed her to be just another Bourbon, nothing special except exuding a decent fragrance.  What I hadn't anticipated are the rapid and bounteous rebloom cycles of this rose, making it the most prolific of my OGR's in terms of repeat flower production.  I'm encouraged now to look for 'Mme Ernst Calvat', a lighter pink sport with the same glorious fragrance.  The picture at the bottom is this year's first bloom cycle, but the second bloom cycle, now underway, is just as colorful and, because of the summer heat, even more fragrant.  One other secret I'll reveal about this rose;  this time of year, when Hybrid Tea and Floribunda blooms are bedraggled by wind, discolored by rain, and chewed by insects, my 'Mme Isaac Pereire' blooms still seem to be perfect, every one.  I don't know how she avoids the factors that disfigure the blooms of other roses, but she does.

I currently lack the knowledge and experience to tie down those long canes in gentle restraint, but perhaps this winter I'll borrow Fifty Shades of Grey from Mrs. ProfessorRoush and study it so that I can be properly prepared to restrain her (referring to 'Mme. Isaac Pereire') in the garden come next Spring.  This old gardener will try anything to encourage blooming of an Old Garden Rose.


  1. Why, good evening Madame. *Nods head* Hahaha. Your garden is lookin' wonderful!

    -Carlos Hernandez
    Tree Removal New York

    1. (demurely) tee-hee.

      Thanks, Carlos for reading the blog!

  2. The Gardener adores this post....Professor thank you! Look forward to more about this fantastic OGR!


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