Tuesday, April 5, 2011

First rose of the season

This is the old China rose, "Eugene de Beauharnais," and it's the first rose to bloom in my garden this year.

It is said to date from 1838, although there is now some talk that the rose sold as "Eugene de Beauharnais" is really a Bourbon called "Le Grande Capitaine."

It's a low-growing shrub - mine is being swamped by a nearby Gaura lindheimeri "Siskyou Pink." It opens fully double, quartered blossoms a clear cherry red, and then the petals age to violet. It's scent is super-strong, "old-rose" and quite intoxicating.

For me, it's a weak and spindly plant wholly justified by its amazing scent and intriguing color. It blooms all year long - well, it starts early and ends late, but there are periods of no bloom in between.

It's named after Napoleon's stepson - the child of Empress Josephine and her first husband, Alexandre the Vicomte de Beauharnais. He was quite a military hero, and his step-father appointed him to several duchys and various other noble offices. He married a Bavarian princess and had plenty of kids who married a bunch of other European royals.

He's pretty happy here in my garden, despite the gaura. I think I'll keep him.

8 comments:

Deja Pseu said...

Oh, that's lovely. I love the ruffly petals. My iceberg roses along the side of the house have been very prolific since mid-February. I'm about to replant that are with some more roses, as they seem to do quite well there. Hope to find some with good fragrance too.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

The daffodils are finally putting in an appearance here, and my beloved stinging nettles are coming back in profusion.

More importantly, I heard some spring peepers today. I love my peepers!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

There were magnolias and dogwoods blooming...in South Carolina. It's still pretty cold further north.
~

cactus petunia said...

Absolutely gorgeous. I think I can get a whiff of it from here!

MAYBELLINE said...

Roses already. Splendid.

Gilly said...

Spindly or no, you have to keep such a beautiful rose! Give it something smaller to lean on!

We aren't even out of the daffodil stage yet, but I am making the most of spring here.

Salty Mama said...

How beautiful!! Wish I could get a wiff.

JCK said...

It looks like it would be called Le Grand Capitaine. Exquisite.