This time of year it’s always the same: I’m running around the garden like a loon: raking, tidying, assessing, pruning, cleaning, and all other -ing’s and loving every minute of it. This spring we’ve seen our share of rose losses but, not surprisingly, most of the OGRs made it through just fine with viable bud eyes reaching all the way to the tips of each healthy cane. One, in particular, is ‘Petite Lisette’, an Alba/Damask rose which impressed the heck out of me last summer.
Only in her second year (brought home as a banded rose the previous spring), to say she flourished is an understatement. In the course of one season, she began at about the height of my knees in spring to form a dense thicket of sorts with canes reaching about chest-high by autumn.
For several weeks, ‘Petite Lisette’ was covered in small, perfumed, perfectly formed pink blossoms, each one opening to reveal a tiny button center. Starting out as a deep pink, they faded to an almost white as they matured, contrasting nicely with the matte green foliage (and nary a drop of disease!)
I spent some time last autumn and this spring editing the bed that ‘Petite Lisette’ is growing in: she no longer has a backdrop of the Knock Out roses but is still surrounded by a lilies, lavender and flanked by ‘Red Moss’ and ‘Apothecary’s Rose’. As I mentioned, she has almost doubled in size since these photos were taken, which is a pretty impressive amount of growth for only a couple of years, but in maturity should only reach about 4′-6′. ‘Petite Lisette’ is hardy to zone 4.
‘Petite Lisette’ was bred by Vibert in 1817. I have one other of his roses, ‘Aimée Vibert’ (mentioned in a recent post), and of course there is ‘Georges Vibert’, a rose named for his grandson and bred by M. Robert, Vibert’s chief gardener. Jean-Pierre Vibert was a prolific rose breeder and I’d love to add more of his roses to our garden. If you’d like to read more about his work, Brent Dickerson has written a wonderful appreciation HERE with a timeline of all Vibert’s rose introductions. It’s really quite amazing.
Edit: Whoops! Just realized I have more of Vibert’s roses than I thought: ‘Sultane Favorite’ and ‘L’Ingénue’. Both are still very small and have not yet bloomed. Can’t report on them just yet…
I should mention that ‘Petite Lisette’ does not make a lasting cut flower although I couldn’t resist snipping a few of the blossoms; they are just so perfectly formed they look as though created from pink porcelain. I cannot wait to see her bloom again this year.
If you’re thinking of adding this charming rose to your garden you can find one at Heirloom Roses (at the time of writing this post.) Next up: ‘Red Moss’…or is it ‘Old Red Moss’…stay tuned for the mystery of this remarkable rose.