Com­ing up roses

June is the month for roses and Sue Bradley has found a beau­ti­ful and el­e­gant ex­am­ple named af­ter a sig­nif­i­cant fig­ure from French his­tory

Living France - - À La Maison -

The names of the daugh­ters of dukes and sis­ters of kings are of­ten for­got­ten over time, but this hasn’t been the case for Adélaïde d’Or­léans. A beau­ti­ful ram­bling rose acts as a con­stant re­minder of the daugh­ter of Philippe Égal­ité, the duke who sup­ported calls for a con­sti­tu­tional monar­chy dur­ing the French Rev­o­lu­tion, and sis­ter of Louis-Philippe I.

Adélaïde’s teenage years were dogged by the up­heaval sur­round­ing the decade between 1789 and 1799, lead­ing her to flee to Europe for sev­eral years. Af­ter the fall of Napoléon she re­turned to France with her brother and his fam­ily and went on to play an ac­tive role in so­ci­ety.

She was also a tal­ented artist and pro­duced a num­ber of highly re­garded botan­i­cal paint­ings af­ter re­ceiv­ing lessons from Pierre-Joseph Red­outé, a man nick­named ‘the Raphael of flow­ers’.

Adélaïde, who was born in 1777, was ed­u­cated by a gov­erness and lived with her teacher in Eng­land, the Aus­trian Nether­lands and Switzer­land dur­ing the rev­o­lu­tion­ary years, which saw her fa­ther meet his end at the guil­lo­tine in 1793.

Later she moved to Bavaria and Bratislava be­fore join­ing her ex­iled mother, Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bour­bon, in Spain. In 1809 she went to live with her brother and his wife in Si­cily and sub­se­quently joined them at the Palais-Royal in Paris, re­garded as a cen­tre for high so­ci­ety dur­ing the rule of Charles X.

Adélaïde never mar­ried and is pri­mar­ily re­mem­bered for her de­vo­tion to her brother, for whom she acted as con­fi­dante. She’s said to have played an ac­tive role in the events that led to LouisPhilippe be­ing of­fered the French Crown dur­ing the July Rev­o­lu­tion in 1830. Her death on the fi­nal day of 1847 oc­curred two months be­fore her brother’s ab­di­ca­tion. The rose, Adélaïde d’Or­léans, was bred by Jacques in 1826 and is a great choice for train­ing over arches and per­go­las. Once a year it pro­duces sprays of small, pink buds that open to semi-dou­ble, slightly per­fumed flow­ers that fade from cream to white, and its leaves are al­most ev­er­green. In the UK it has earned the ‘Award of Gar­den Merit’ from the Royal Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety. Michael Mar­riott of David Austin Roses says Adélaïde d’Or­léans re­mains a pop­u­lar choice. “Although it only blooms once in the sea­son, when in flower it is cov­ered in pure white, very beau­ti­ful, fra­grant blooms hang­ing grace­fully in large fes­toons,” he com­ments. Con­tainer-grown roses can be planted through­out the year and thrive in rich soils, into which well-rot­ted com­post or ma­nure can be dug in or fer­tiliser forked into the top few cen­time­tres. Some gar­den­ers use my­c­or­rhizal fungi to en­cour­age a good root area. Make a hole that’s around twice the width of the rose’s roots and about a foot (30cm) deep and tease out the roots to as­sist growth and im­prove re­silience to drought. Michael ad­vises keep­ing the knob­bly sec­tion of stem at which the root­stock is joined to the cul­ti­var about 5cm be­low the sur­face to pre­vent wind rock and en­cour­age roots to de­velop from the base of the stems. Wa­ter well dur­ing dry spells.

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