Unremontant Charles de MillsThursday, May 04, 2006
It only ocurred to me the other day that I have recently gone bonkers for gallica roses. I have ten varieties. The original species, Rosa gallica was native to southern Europe and eastward to the Caucasus. This wild rose is generally accepted to be the ancestor of the Damasks, Centifolias, Mosses and Albas. Unquestionably, Rosa gallica is in the lineage of practically all modern garden roses. Most modern garden roses are remontant. This means that after the initial flush of blooms in May/June the bushes repeat. Gallicas (sports and crosses of Rosa gallica with other roses) are not remontant. They make up for it by blooming in very large quantities. Why would I want to have these ancient plants in my garden? For one, the colours almost have no equal plus these roses, particularly the crimson ones "fade" into beautiful purples, greys and some get to an almost metallic silver tone. And their fragrance is superb. One such rose is Rosa 'Charles de Mills'. When the dense and quartered blossoms (they look like textured velvet) open they appear as if someone cleanly snipped a section off with a razor. I can't wait.