by Alexandre Bernaix, France, 1891.
There is some confusion about the true identity of the rose sold under
this name in North America. There is a clone that originated at Peter
Beales' nursery in England that is potentially different from the
one that most of us (myself included) grow. Beales description suggests
that his clone often displays "blood red" hues, while my
clone only occasionally shows the darker "Mutabilis red",
mostly on the outer petals. Otherwise, the bloom is as you see it
here; peachy pinks with darker reddish shades towards the heart of
the bloom, sometimes with deeper reds and even purplish hues blended
in. It is an ever-changing spectrum of subtle, delicious colors that
varies with time of year, weather conditions, latitude, exposure and
soil fertility. There are times when you could compare the early season
blossoms with the mid-Summer blooms and swear they were different
roses. Perhaps this mutability is part of the reason that confusion
about identity has arisen?
No matter what
its true identity, 'Monsieur Tillier' is a superb
Tea. Once established, it can be nearly everblooming, disease free
and is one of the most shapely garden shrubs one could choose. Individual
blooms are rarely more than 3" across, but they are produced
freely in clusters of up to a dozen and singly on the older, more
articulated branches. The fragrance is classic phenolic Tea (not unlike
camphor); especially rich at mid-morning when a fresh bloom has fully
opened. Truly, this rose' only shortcoming is its lack of Winter-hardiness;
it cannot be expected to thrive in climates that experience full Winters.
Even single freeze events down to 15F can do significant damage to
this rose. However, if you are in warm Texas, California or Florida,
or even coastal Oregon and Washington, I cannot imagine a better rose.
merit rating: 8.1
Personal merit rating: 8.5
Hardiness: USDA zones 8 to
10, zone 7 in a protected location.
Shrub size: 4 to 8 feet tall X similar width, depending
Fragrance: 4.0, strong Tea scent.
photographs and site content © Paul Barden
2005, All Rights Reserved.