What can I tell you about the lovely Aimée? Such a charming and yet odd little rose. I’m breaking one of my own rules about sharing a new introduction to our garden before I have a decent amount of photos of it’s habit but I couldn’t wait to chat her up. Named for Vibert’s daughter, ‘Aimée Vibert’ has a distinguished lineage being descended from the very first Noisette (and the first truly American rose hybrid) ‘Champney’s Pink Cluster’ and Rosa sempervirens pleno (Sempervirens roses sometimes referred to as the “Evergreen Rose.”) Our Aimée has been a puzzle to me since I received her as a band in 2011. I had read that she was a vigorous grower but all last summer hardly saw any growth out of her at all. Then, last spring, she suddenly threw out several longish, slender canes covered with ferny foliage which then promptly turned yellowish and blackspotty. She shed these leaves like crazy and added new ones just as quickly. I was constantly cleaning up the puddle of leaves beneath her container and wondering what I was doing wrong. During the end of spring when all of my other Old Garden Roses were blooming their little faces off, Aimée just quietly sat there biding her time. One afternoon, tired of cleaning up the leaves and wondering if this rose was ever going to do anything for me, I hefted up the container and thought OK, Chica, we’re moving you into the garden. That was a couple months ago. Just this week, ‘Aimée Vibert’ surprised me with a spray of pretty blossoms. (To give you an idea of how late this rose blooms, we are about 3 weeks ahead of schedule this summer in our garden so under “normal” conditions she may bloom as late as August.) I’ve been racking my brain trying to describe the scent of her flowers. Described as “musk”, to me they smell more earthy and less sweet like the scent of dried hydrangea blossoms and wet grass. Strange, but not unpleasant. I’m not sure what to make of ‘Aimée Vibert’; we’ll just have to see how she performs the rest of this summer (poor thing is languishing in this heat) and overwinters into next spring. I will say, though, that having first dreamed of growing this rose back in 2009 seeing this cluster of blossoms in a vase by my bedside–real! and in person!–made me feel truly blessed.
EDIT: I’ve been reading a bit about true musk roses (thank you Graham Thomas) and having learned that the musk rose described in 17th century documents tells of it’s blossoming in autumn, I am not surprised that ‘Aimée Vibert’, with her likely musk heritage, bloomed so late in the season. Thoughts?