La SuidisanteTuesday, May 31, 2016
Rosa 'Great Maiden's Blush' is an old rose cultivar known since the 14th century. Like other Rosa × alba cultivars, it is very winter hardy, a tall shrub with arching branches, and the flowers are sweetly scented.
It blooms in spring only. The young buds tend to have a creamy yellow color on the outside. The flower petals are creamy-white or white in the bud, then pale pink, and finally fade again to white. It is not overly prickly, has relatively few thorns. It tolerates shade and it can be grown on or beside north-facing walls (in the northern hemisphere). It has enough strength and vigour that it can be used as a climber.
This cultivar is known by many other names, including 'Cuisse de Nymphe', 'Incarnata', and 'Maiden's Blush'.
The above is information from Wikipedia. It is fairly accurate but I prefer English rosarian Peter Beales’s (now sadly dead) from his beautiful and very complete book Peter Beales – Classic Roses.
Of a class of roses called Albas he writes:
The Flower Garden, an old gardening book of 1840 lists forty-two distinct cultivars, quite a few of whose names I have not seen recorded elsewhere and which are probably simply variations of R. alba ‘Maxima’or ‘Maiden’s Blush’, cultivars I frequently get asked to identify each year. These two cultivars between them have more alternative names than any others I know. ‘Maiden’s Blush’has been known over the years as ‘La Royale’’La Suidisante’, ‘La Virginale’, ‘Incarnata’ and ‘Cuisse de Nymphe,’ a slightly deeper form having the name ‘Cuisse de Nymphe Émue’. It is was this rose, growing in the garden of my birthplace in north Norfolk and affectionately known as ‘Grandad’s Rose’, which first excited my curiosity and led to my lifelong affinity with roses. I have a vivid childhood memory of enjoying this rose, drawn to her no doubt by her ‘expensive’perfume, which seemed to pervade the entire garden each June. Despite years of neglect, this old plant is still growing exactly where I remember it, and it will certainly outlive me. It gives me pleasure to know that her offspring are now growing in many places of the world, since it was this very plant that I obtained my first budding eyes of this old cultivar when starting my nursery thirty years ago (Beales’ book first published in 1985).
|Rosa 'Maiden's Blush' July 2 2013|
For the almost 20 years that I had my ‘Maiden’s Blush’ in our Athlone garden it suffered from a disease called botrytis. The buds would not open. They would become yellow and fall off. Since we moved to our small Kitsilano garden I have been astounded that ‘Maiden’s Blush’and other albas no longer have the disease. I waited for days before I finally cut off the rose you see here. It is past its prime as the separate blooms have gone to white. But the perfume is there!
My guess is that even very old, old roses need a change and new soil in a different location. In early July of 2013 I did get one glorious bloom seen here.