Gloire de France; bred by Hardy, France, pre-1836.*
'Gloire de France' is a likely a Gallica-Centifolia hybrid, as evidenced by the intermediate foliage and thorn (prickle) habits. Blooms are large (4" or more) and a blend of medium pink, pale pink and soft lavender that is ever changing with age. The bloom form, as you can see, is a flat saucer shape, crammed full with a swirl of luminous petals. The fragrance is everything you might expect: a full and rich Old Rose scent. The bush is well behaved in habit, forming a tidy thicket about 3 feet tall and 4 or more feet wide. Disease resistance is excellent.
While some people look at the Old Roses and see their myriad shades of pinks and lavenders as limited, the fact is that pink is the natural, most honest color of the rose, and 'Gloire de France' illustrates what is best about a pink rose. Hardly ordinary in any way, this is a rose to ponder and revel in for its subtlety of hues and its glorious scent. In some ways this is the epitome of what Old Roses were in their heyday, and has survived over 100 years because it still has great merit. As do all the Gallicas, blooms are produced once a season for a period of 4 to 6 weeks. I have found it to be vigorous, hardy and dependable. It is certainly one of the better Gallicas as far as tidy, shapely shrub form is concerned. I recommend it highly.
*Sometimes accredited to Bizard, 1819, or 1828. Dickerson suggests Hardy, and that is what I use here. It is occasionally listed as being synonymous with 'Fanny Bias', which it is not, as Verrier and Thomas have reported.
Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 2006, All Rights Reserved.