William Lobb , bred by Laffay, France 1855.
William Lobb is one of the most well known of the Old Garden Mosses. It is sometimes referred to as "Old Velvet Moss" also. Some reports suggest that it is 1/4 China rose, which may explain its unchracteristicly tall and wiry habit.
The rich purple blooms of about 3 to 4 inches across fade to a soft violet-grey and purple color. They are blessed with a strong Old Rose scent. As you can see, the plant is generous with bloom, producing big clusters of flowers which open over a long period of time in early summer. (Yes, it is a once-bloomer.) I have read that sometimes there can be over 20 blooms produced in a cluster! (corymb)
The shrub itself is very tall, with lithe canes that are very easily trained on a fence, arbor or trellis....although I will warn you that because of the dense, dangerous thorns that you handle the plant with thick garden gloves on!....leather is preferable.
William Lobb will eventually reach a height of 8 to 10 feet tall, depending on climate. I have known this rose to suffer some cane dieback in zone 5 during harsh winters, but not enough to discourage its vigorous recovery.
It might be of interest to you to know that this rose was one of the major contributors in Ralph Moore's Miniature Moss breeding program.
Original photographs and site content © 2006 Paul Barden, All Rights Reserved.