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Monsieur Tillier. Bred 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.

ARS 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 on climate.
Fragrance: 4.0, strong Tea scent.

Bon Silène Homere
Devoniensis Lady Hillingdon
Fortune's Double Yellow Mons. Tillier
Gloire de Dijon (Rise 'N' Shine X Gloire de Dijon) #1
Gloire de Dijon X Abraham Darby Sombreuil

Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 2005, All Rights Reserved.