'Cardinal de Richelieu', bred by van Sian of Holland. Introduced by Laffay in France 1840.
What a magnificent rose is this! 'Cardinal de Richelieu' is almost unique among the gallicas for it's intense and most unusual coloring. Some people have said that the Moss rose, 'Nuits de Young' is the darkest of the old roses, but I have seen the two side by side, and I would say that this rose is the darker of the two. At any rate, 'Cardinal de Richelieu' offers the most extraordinary coloring of all of the roses I grow. Graham Thomas has been quoted as saying that it has "the sumptuous bloom of a dark grape.", which I find is an appropriately accurate description. Think of a dark, ripe concord grape, and you have a pretty good idea of the color of this rose in mid-bloom.
The form of the flower is quite cupped, even when fully open, and only shows the shape you see here late in it's development. They are smallish flowers, about 2.5 inches at best, but the color makes up for the size. There are usually about 3 blooms per cluster, sometimes more. The bloom begins as a dark crimson-purple bud, then quickly opens to a dustier purple color that "ripens" in the sun, eventually turning an almost deep grey-purple! It is not to everyone's liking, but I find it is a most attractive color, particularly when seen as a contrast to other pinks. You should see this rose placed next to a white like 'Madame Hardy'! ( a Damask ) Wow!
There is some fragrance, and it is an unusual scent that goes well with the color: an almost peppery fragrance. It's subtle, but noticeable. I find that this is a very well behaved shrub of modest vigor, taking a couple of seasons to really get to any size. It is orderly in it's growth, always remaining shapely, with a lovely branching habit. It is supposedly one quarter china in it's geneology, and that shows in it's general appearance and leaf character.
'Cardinal de Richelieu' is available from The Uncommon Rose.
Click here, or on the image at right for page two about 'Cardinal de Richelieu'
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