"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Love My Gallicas

And my gallicas love me. Or rather, they do seem to love the habitat we share. They thrive here at the Lodge.

What's a gallica? A rose species. The Old Rose Adventurer says it best: "The French Rose (Rosa Gallica, of botanists) is a native inhabitant of Europe, growing abundantly in the hedges of France and Italy." He goes on to point out that it was one of the earliest roses introduced to gardens, and was probably introduced in England in 1596. Over time it naturally produced interesting mutant offspring, and hundreds of years later--chiefly in the 19th century--French hybridists went crazy creating lush new versions.

Here's a selection of the ones I grow.

Apothecary Rose, Gallica Officinalis,. Dates to 1200 A.D. The original.

Rosa Mundi, Versicolor. I so love her. Pre-1581. The English name supposedly derives from Fair Rosamond, ill-fated mistress of Henry II. One of the mutant offspring from Officinalis referenced above.

Tuscany. Possibly pre-16th century by some ancient name. Known by this name since before 1820. I love the way the blossoms unfold from this--

--to this.

The Bishop, L'Eveque. From 1790. Added this year. It's the approximate shade of a bishop's purple shirt.

Charles de Mills. One of those mad hybrids, created prior to 1885. It is a huge, huge shrub simply covered with these giant blossoms of tightly packed, curled petals of an unphotographable colour.

I also grow a striped gallica, Tricolore de Flandres, but I haven't photographed it yet.

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