Rosa 'Zephirine Drouhin' & a PriestSaturday, August 17, 2019
|Rosa 'Zephirine Drouhin' 17 August 2019|
A couple of years ago after Rosemary and I had moved from our large Kerrisdale garden to our small deck garden in Kitsilano I had no desire to return to see what our old house was like as I knew it had not been torn down. The owner (hasn’t sold it yet perhaps waiting for permits to take down the large trees) had mowed the back lane garden we had which had a few roses left.
There was one that had not done well for years. It was a Bourbon Rose and these multipetaled roses do not do well in our rainy springs. I left it behind. When I did return at my Rosemary’s urging I found this rose that had survived the mowing and brought it home. I did nothing for two years. This year and today it had a lovely blossom. What rose could it possibly be?
The dead giveaway is that it has no thorns. By process of elimination I have now identified this wonderful survivor as the last rose (that Z!) in any rose catalogue, Rosa 'Zephirine Drouhin'.
After lots of searching I have been able to locate the Zephirine in question who seems to have been the niece of a priest. The Drouhin family started a wine industry in Burgundy in the 1880s but I have no idea if they are the same Drouhin as that of the rose named by French rose breeder Bizot.
Bourbon roses originated on the Île Bourbon (now called Réunion) off the coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. They are believed to be the result of a cross between the Autumn Damask and the 'Old Blush' China rose, both of which were frequently used as hedging materials on the island. They flower repeatedly on vigorous, frequently semi-climbing shrubs with glossy foliage and purple-tinted canes. They were first Introduced in France in 1820 by Henri Antoine Jacques. Examples: 'Louise Odier', 'Mme. Pierre Oger', 'Zéphirine Drouhin' (the last example is often classified under climbing roses).
And who was ‘Zephirine Drouhin’? According to La Repère Horticoleof 1899, a Monsieur Pingeon, secretary of a horticulture and viticul-ture organization in the state of Cote d’Or, wrote that the breeder Bizot introduced the rose not in 1868, which is the date usually given, but in 1873. Bizot had been asked by an abbot of Notre Dame de Dijon, Father Drouhin, to name the rose for the wife of his brother who was a well-known property owner and amateur horticulturist of Semur, a town west of Dijon. That is as much we know.