Alain Blanchard: Bred by Vibert, France, 1839
'Alain Blanchard' has long been considered a Gallica, but I will follow Brent Dickerson's suggestion and place it here in the Centifolias, where it was apparently placed by its creator.
'Alain Blanchard' is a relatively new rose in my collection, and this is the first bloom I have seen this spring. I can't imagine why I haven't thought to get a plant of this rose before now! If this photograph doesn't sell you on this rose, then nothing will! What an incredible bloom. Upon opening, the bloom is a mix of crimson and purple which darkens to purples with paler spots as it ages. The scent is typical Gallica; a warm scent, not entirely sweet, but with an acrid tone. I find this scent very pleasant.
When I first began assembling a collection of Gallicas, I was much more attracted to the big fully double blooms, like 'Charles de Mills' and 'Ypsilante'. I rarely found the single and semi double blooms to be as attractive. I have had people tell me in the past that as time goes by, you begin to develop an appreciation for the simpler roses. This has certainly been true for me. In the past two years, I have acquired 'Alain Blanchard', 'La Belle Sultane', and 'Alika', to name a few. I have come to think of these single blooms as having an exquisite charm of their own, and I value them as much as the more 'evolved' roses.
'Alan Blanchard' is a thorny rose that will grow to 4 feet tall and somewhat arching in habit. It is presumed to be a Centifolia in breeding, and shows some of those characteristics. The foliage is a bright green, and tough. This is a well behaved garden shrub, and is very showy and well worth the space in spite of its once blooming habit.
Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 1996-2003