Romantic bouquet: The Pierre de Ronsard climber boasts beauty, color and fragrance

Michelle Isaac/Special to the Town Crier
Local gardener Michelle Isaac created a Pierre de Ronsard bouquet with apricot-colored roses and sweet peas from her garden.

It’s possible to have romantic, beautiful roses growing in your own garden. And it’s possible to create unique bouquets out of your homegrown beauties. While a rose is a rose is a rose, deciding which kind of rose is right for you is easier said than done.

Roses vary in size, shape, color and aroma, and different roses grow in different environments.

I have been living in Los Altos for 20 years and enjoy gardening full time. I specialize in roses that are pretty both in the garden and in a vase at home. I have more than 35 breeds of roses, from which I select for their ability to create beautiful bouquets.

Many of my friends see my rose bouquets and are surprised by their romantic beauty. They eagerly ask the name of the roses, so I decided to start writing about this topic. The goal is to showcase the roses’ beauty and to demonstrate that they can thrive in our Los Altos climate. I will include photos from my garden and my home to help you decide which fit your tastes.

We’ll start with one of my favorites - the Pierre de Ronsard rose.

The best of old and new

Pierre de Ronsard, also known as the Eden rose, was created by Marie-Louise Meilland and introduced in France in 1985. It was selected as the "World’s Favourite Rose," the highest title a rose can be granted, and inducted into the Rose Hall of Fame. Experts claim the Pierre de Ronsard beautifully combines the romance of the Old World with the qualities of the new. I totally agree.

The blooms are an unusual blend of soft pinks, creams and yellow greens. The old-fashioned, cupped flowers with nearly 60 petals are elegant and exquisite. The color will slightly change by season and soil quality. Sometimes they are more cream, sometimes they are more pink. I always like to look at them and wonder at how vigorous and varied they can be. A slight tinge of a deeper pink on the very edge of the flower makes them even more special and lovely. The leaves are strong and glossy, too.

Pierre de Ronsards have a long vase life and are perfect for making your rose bouquet. This is important, because some flowers can be beautiful in a vase, but only for a few days. I like to pick them when their flowers are not fully open. Their fragrance is very light, so it especially fits people who are very sensitive to fragrances, or in smaller rooms.

The Pierre de Ronsard is vigorous and a very fast-growing large climber. It can reach heights of 6-12 feet. I have two Pierre de Ronsards in my garden. One is climbing on a pillar in a half-shade location, another with a tall mushroom trellis in full sun. They are both growing well. They are considered heat and rain tolerant, as well as disease resistant. I rarely prune them. They are versatile and well mannered, so they’re easy to grow and maintain.

Pierre de Ronsard is one of the finest climbers and blooms almost continuously throughout the season in our Los Altos climate. The first flower flush around April and May is the strongest. When it comes, sending your unique rose bouquet to your friends will make them extremely happy. It’s a gift that one is unlikely to be able to buy and of special quality and beauty.

Michelle Isaac is a gardener in Los Altos. Email [email protected] for more information.

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