14 June 2010

The best smelling rose in the world

Perhaps I should just say the best smelling rose my nose has ever encountered. Which is still saying something. I used to be minorly obsessed with roses (in my teens... I sort of grew out of it) and have spent a lot of time sniffing the over 11,000 rose bushes in the Columbus Ohio Park of Roses when I lived in that town. Sniffing through that collection, and every other collection of roses I have come across, nothing comes close to the scent of Madam Ernst Calvat.
Not only is her scent strong (when she is in full bloom, I can smell her easily several yards away at the other end of the garden) but it is marvelous and evocative. I showed a flower to a friend once, and after inhaling deeply, she said, "Wow... that really... takes you places, doesn't it?" Smells are always hard to describe, but to me it is a wild, exotic, smell. Not quite floral, not quite incense, completely marvelous.
If you don't know the good madam, here is what she looks like in my garden:

She's a hybrid perpetual, and like most hybrid perpetuals (indeed, like most roses) she is a gawky, rangy sort of shrub, inclined to get mildew. Which is why, if you look closely in the picture you can see strawberries growing at her feet, and onions in the background. Roses to me are for putting in vases, so I grow them with my other cut flowers out back with the vegetables.
Here she is looking as she should, in a vase, with some Phlox 'Chattahoochee' filling the house with her incredible scent.

I just wish you could smell it too, through your computer screen. It would set you dreaming.


Christine B. said...

Gorgeous, divine smelling rose? Almost certainly it's not hardy here...drat!

Christine in Alaska

Joseph said...

Christine, it might be hardy for you -- the hybrid perpetuals are pretty tough. It doesn't die back at all here, even after a hard winter.

meemsnyc said...

Those roses are gorgeous, and look amazing with the phlox. We just started growing roses this year, so they are still small bushes.

Scentsy said...

You mentioned Strawberries and onions at the foot of your roses. Is this to help prevent insects or infections? I have never heard of this before, but I like it. I have always used good old fashioned lady bugs, banana peels and egg shells.

Joseph said...

No, there is no plan to the onions and strawberries -- I just grow cut flowers, vegetables, and berries all mixed up together in my back yard because it is more fun that way.

Laurie Brown said...

Have you taken a sniff of Madam Isaac Periere? (I understand that her color isn't what you'd want in your own yard) She is the rose that Mme Ernst sported from, and to me she is more fragrant- not much more, but noticeable.

Just found your blog via Studio G and it looks very interesting!

Joseph said...

Yes... I personally can't tell a different scent wise, and I do like the paler pink better. Maybe it is just my anti-magenta perjudice! I should do a blind sniff test sometime.