Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fine Ferdinand

'Ferdinand Pichard'
Let's see, let's see, what rose do I feature next, what rose do I like the best?  I think it is time for stripes again, so we'll discuss 'Ferdinand Pichard' and leave 'Chapeau de Napoleon' and 'Duchess of Portland' waiting in the wings.

Isn't 'Ferdinand Pichard' a lovely rose?  He's a toddler in my garden, at the beginning of his second summer and after a nice first bloom in the first week of May, he rested, stretched up a bit, and is beginning to bloom again now, two months later.  I'm holding my breath with this rose, having lost him as a baby rose once before.

'Ferdinand Pichard', cupped form
As many readers are aware, I'm a sucker for stripes, and 'Ferdinand Pichard' is quite a stunner in that regard.  I wouldn't call him magenta and white, unlike 'Variegata di Bologna', ole FP is more pink and red.  Globular blooms are nicely fragrant, double, and about 3 inches in diameter in my garden, and they open to a cupped form within a couple of days after showing color.  The bush is well-foliaged, with matte green leaves that still look very healthy in mid-summer.  He's about 3 foot tall now, in July of his second year on his own roots, and in some areas may grow up to 8 feet with a 4 foot spread,  I don't think I'll see that size here in Kansas but if his growth spurt this summer is any indication, he'll be a tall gentleman none the less.  Reported hardy to Zone 4, 'Ferdinand Pichard' is completely cane-hardy here in Kansas.

'Ferdinand Pichard' was bred by Tanne in 1921, and he originally hails from France.  There is some confusion about his classification. lists FP as a Hybrid Perpetual, while other sources, including the Old Rose authority Graham Thomas, believes he is a Bourbon. The Montreal Botanical Garden listed him as being very resistant to blackspot and mildew in 1998, in agreement with his booming health in my garden.  David Austin lists FP as being one of the finest striped roses.  Personally, if I had a choice between only 'Variegata di Bologna' and 'Ferdinand Pichard' at this point, I'd be hard pressed to decide since the Bourbon-bred scent of VdB is slightly stronger, while 'Ferdinand Pichard's repeat bloom is much more dependable.

Oh, who am I kidding?   'Ferdinand Pichard' wins hands down.  I've never seen more than a single second bloom from VdB after growing it for 10 years here.  'Ferdinand Pichard' has already given me two bloom cycles with decent flushes, and according to one source, "only gets better with age."

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