When preparing the front of my house for the restoration of the façade in the autumn of 2007, I was saddened by the obligation to cut away a splendid rose bush of the Pierre de Ronsard variety (named after a 16th-century poet). Today, I am thrilled to discover that it is flowering (timidly) once again:
This French variety, created in 1986 by the Meilland family dynasty in Provence, was voted the most popular rose in the world at the Osaka convention of the World Federation of Rose Societies in 2006.
Last summer, when I was planning my rose garden at Gamone, Christine advised me wisely to avoid glaring colors, particularly those that clash with one another. Well, since I didn't know a lot about roses, I'm not sure I respected this challenge when I selected the two dozen bushes that I wished to plant. But today, I'm finally happy with the outcome. My choice of varieties did, however, include a few particularly flamboyant specimens, such as this Limoux, whose bright ocher-yellow is said to be in harmony with the celebrated sparkling white wines of this region of south-west France.
At another spot in the garden, there's this brilliant Bicolette, which is supposed to have touches of cream on the outer edges:
No rose could be simpler or purer in its form than this lovely Bernadette, whose heart will shortly turn to light cream:
And here's another Meilland specimen, André le Nôtre (named in honor of the chief gardener of King Louis XIV):
The juxtaposition of the delicate flowers of a shrub of a similar hue is most successful.
Besides the visual scene, there is the magnificent aroma that the garden exudes towards the end of warm afternoons. I find that the flowers have a similar soothing effect to staring into an aquarium. There are differences, of course. You don't have to remove weeds from an aquarium. And you don't have to build a vast staircase to get down into an aquarium. (I promise photos as soon as it's completed.)