Growing Madame Ernest Calvat Rose

I’m not an entirely patient person, but with my garden I sort of have to be, especially since I am starting from scratch here at our new home. The bad news is, we are only renting until my husband finishes up at University and will probably be moving again, but the good news is, I get to experiment with my love of roses by ordering smaller “banded” (grown on their own root and shipped in 4″ pots) roses and keeping them in containers until they are mature enough to be put in the ground. (And hopefully by then we will be in a home of our own.) Such is the case with this recent addition to our garden: ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’, a gorgeous old bourbon rose which smells just as good as it looks and, purchased last summer as a tiny banded rose, bloomed for the first time this June.

In my garden, ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ took a year to get going, but this season has put forth an abundance of new growth and blooms.

‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ is a sport (mutation) of ‘Madame Isaac Pereire‘ and was introduced in 1888 by Joseph Schwartz of Lyon, France who was also responsible for introducing the famous ‘Madame Alfred Carriere‘ rose (among others). ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ falls in the Bourbon class of garden roses which are often times repeat blooming; think of Bourbons as a predecessor to our modern “English” roses, such as those introduced by David Austin. I’ve heard it said that ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ puts on an even nicer show in autumn when the weather grows cooler, and I can’t wait to see if that’s true. EDIT: Mme Calvat bloomed heavily all summer! 

‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ is a fully double, quartered, rose containing approximately 50 fragrant petals.

‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ is said to grow to heights of 5-8 feet and can be trained as a climber. Mine is still a wee little thing but this season surprised me but putting forth one super long cane so I can see how this rose won’t remain little for long. ‘Mme Calvat’ blooms on new wood so technically could be pruned early to encourage flowering. However, I’ve read that it’s best to not prune this rose at all, which makes me wonder if, like it’s bourbon cousin ‘Zephirine Drouhin’, pruning could send it into shock. Because of it’s tendency to throw long canes, this rose would be a good candidate for pegging. This rose is listed as being hardy to zones 5-10. I wonder, though, how well she would do in the hotter climates as when we had a recent heat-wave, her blooms did not fare well. Nonetheless, they were still incredibly lovely, quite large (about 4″ across), and so fragrant! To me, they had that classic old rose scent with hints of warm wine. Hard to describe, but pure heaven. In my garden, she is also exceptionally disease resistant, with lush, blemish-free foliage emerging first in shades of purplish-green and maturing to a medium to dark matte green. EDIT: ‘Mme Calvat’ grew to be quite tall with plentiful, long, arching canes. And I want to add, here in June, 2013, that ‘Mme. Calvat’ did experience some blackspot issues last summer. Also, we lost this one over the particularly cold winter we just had. I purchased another one from Rogue Valley b/c I love it too much.

Madame Alfred Calvat’s blossoms remind me of fancy party dresses.

Madame Ernest Calvat’s blossoms are fully double, quartered, and contain approximately 50 fragrant petals. When the blooms are fully mature, the stamens are quite large and prominent. I’ve searched and searched and cannot seem to find out who the real ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ was in history and would love it if someone knows and can enlighten me. Regardless of who she was, her name lives on in this outstanding rose beloved by many gardeners around the world.

Interested in adding this rose to your garden? Madame Ernest Calvat can be purchased HERE.

‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ postcard set is available for purchase in my shop SOLD OUT

8 thoughts on “Growing Madame Ernest Calvat Rose

  1. A very pretty rose. If the garden has taught me anything, it has been patience. My grandmother used to tell me “never pray for patience” the Lord will send you a trial to teach it to you….. Watching my roses grow and develop beautiful blooms has taught me that care and patience reaps its own rewards..

  2. I had the old bourbons La Reine Victoria and her sport Mme Pierre Ooger. They threw 6 – 8 foot canes and as they were up against the west facing fence, I spread the canes in a fanshape, tied to the fence. They need to be as horizontal as you can get them, to flower best. I had no room to peg the canes down as the bed was not wide enough. Completely vertical canes won’t provide many blooms. Good luck!

    1. Hi Gabi! Thank you for your comment! I didn’t know what Mme Pierre Ooger looked like so I had to check her out on HMF and wow, what a gorgeous rose! I’m adding her to my wish list for next year. My La Reine Victoria hasn’t flowered for me yet (bought her as a banded rose last spring) but I can’t wait until she does. I will definitely take your advice and try to get the canes on both as horizontal as possible. 🙂

  3. Can you tell me how tall your Mme Ernest got? I am growing her here in south-west France, where the climate is mild and everything grows like gangbusters. Anyway, mine’s 1 1/2 years old and so far is about 4′ tall. I am hoping she will grow to the upper limits of her height, and your comment gave me hope!

    1. Oooh, SW France! Lucky you! 🙂
      Ours got to be about 5′ in height with an arching spread of about 4′-5′. I use past tense because I accidentally killed that one by leaving it in an unprotected area one very cold winter. So, we’re starting all over with another one and in it’s second year is currently around 3′ high. Hope this helps!

  4. Marie Calvat, nee Perrin was the wife of Ernest Jean-Marie, son of Claude-Ernest Calvat mayor of Grenoble from 1871-1874. Ernest Calvat leaves his profession for horticulture, especially chrysanthemums. He invests most of his and his wife’s fortune in them. In 1888, the rose grower Schwartz names a rose in honor her. She died of pneumonia in 1896 at the age of 37.

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