Centifolias - Provence Roses
Centifolia means "hundred petaled", and the centifolia rose blossoms are
full, with petals tightly packed. In size, they range from little pompons 1in
(2.5cm) across to big blossoms 4 in (10.2cm) in diameter - a 3 in (7.6cm)
blossom is about average for centifolias. "Cabbage roses" is an old common name
for these roses.
Centifolias tend to be exceptionally cold hardy and resistant to
pests and diseases. As shrubs, they are usually
loose and open in form, though they are often compact and may not grow beyond a
height and spread of 3 ft (0.9m). They bloom just once each year, typically in
early summer, filling the garden with perfume in their season.
Examination by plant cytologists in recent years of the chromosomes of
R. centifolia proves beyond doubt that it is a complex hybrid and not, as previously
thought, a true species. Apparently the Centifolias are made up of genes from
R. gallica, R. phoenicia, R. moschata, R. canina and R. damascena. The late Dr C. V.
Hurst declared that they were one of the youngest groups, developed in Holland
some 300 years ago, contradicting the belief, based on references to 'hundred - petaled
roses' as early as 300 BC, that they were among the oldest.
With support, centifolias roses are easily manageable and, in good weather, rewarding, with very
beautiful, superbly scented, cabbage-like flowers. Their foliage is coarse and
darkish green and their shoots are very thorny.
- 'Cabbage Rose' Roses
- The very double flowers of 'Cabbage Rose' (also called R.
centifolia) are clear pink and richly fragrant. This is the type
of rose, with many-petaled, globular blooms, often
depicted in paintings by the old European masters. The 3-inch
flowers are supported by long stems and appear singly or in
clusters. Though they do not repeat, they produce a
stunning summer display. Foliage
is gray-green and coarse, and thorns are abundant.
'Cabbage Rose' has a lax, arching habit and is moderately sized, making it
useful as a garden shrub. This rose is
- 'Centifolia Variegata' Roses
- 'Centifolia Variegata' is able to
tolerate the heat and humidity of a southeastern summer.
Like most centifolia roses, 'Centifolia Variegata' has a rather open, rangy
habit. This rose is best used as a pillar rose or trained along a
horizontal fence or low wall. The large, richly fragrant blooms open
creamy white with pink stripes, then fade to white with lilac stripes.
- 'Fantin-Latour' Roses
- Although 'Fantin-Latour' has a relatively short bloom period
and does not repeat, the quality of the blossoms makes up
for their short season. Each 2- to 3-inch very double flower is
composed of 200 petals, giving it the full appearance
typical of centifolia roses. When it first opens, the pale blush
pink bloom is cupped; it then flattens as it matures. The
blossoms emit a delicate fragrance. Leaves are dark green,
and canes are nearly smooth.
'Fantin-Latour' plants produce arching canes that
usually reach 5 feet in height and a little less in spread. They
perform well in a bed or border where their late-spring
flower display is breathtaking. This is a very hardy rose, but
its disease resistance is only moderate.
- 'Petite de Hollande' Roses (Introduced - 1800)
- The rose pink double blooms of 'Petite de Hollande' are
borne in clusters. Flowers are 1 1/2 inches across and cupped
until fully open, when their darker centers become
visible. They are sweetly fragrant. In keeping with the dainty
scale of the flowers, the leaves are also small; they are glossy
and coarsely toothed.
Plants are moderate growers. Bushy and compact, they
are ideal for smaller gardens and containers, and are also
excellent for training as a standard. This rose is hardy
and disease resistant.
- 'Rose de Meaux' Roses (Introduced - 1789)
- This diminutive rose bears medium pink to light rose
pompom-type double blooms in summer, with no repeat.
The 1 1/2 - inch flowers have frilly petals and are very fragrant.
Leaves are also small, in keeping with the overall size of the
plant. Canes bear abundant straight prickles.
The plants have an upright, bushy, compact habit. They
are useful for small gardens or for tucking into a small
space, and are also a good
choice for containers. 'Rose de Meaux' requires very good soil and can be
somewhat temperamental. This rose is prone
to black spot.
- 'Rose des Peintres' Roses (Introduced - prior to 1838)
- Another shrub that takes well to being trained on a pillar or
fence, 'Rose des Peintres' bears very double (200 petals),
fragrant, bright pink blooms, often with button-eye centers. As is true
of so many of the older roses, the blossoms of 'Rose des Peintres' have a
memorable perfume. The name, which translates as "rose of the painters",
refers to the fact that portraits of this flower
frequently appeared in 18th-century Dutch paintings, particularly
those of Jan van Huysum.
Though somewhat more sensitive to cold than 'Centifolia
Variegata', this rose is also a safe bet for cold northern gardens.