Hello fellow rose lovers, how are we surviving January so far? I’m posting this from snow-covered Pennsylvania, where great drifts are piling up against the door and we can’t shovel ourselves out fast enough before its builds up again. There are 52 days until spring. There are 52 days until spring. Just keep repeating and try not to freak out.
Let’s dive back into the roses, shall we? It’s said that a group of more than 3 similar items makes a collection, so I suppose you could say that I have (inadvertently) begun a tiny collection of Vibert roses in our garden. Apart from Austin roses, I never gave much thought to collecting a particular hybridizer’s roses but I have yet to come across a Vibert rose that I didn’t really like so I think I might be onto something here. When I say Vibert, I am referring to the “master rose-hybridizer” Jean-Pierre Vibert (1777-1866.) Vibert led a very interesting life, even fighting for Napoléon before he was wounded and returned to Paris. Serendipitously, Vibert worked near a rosarium which supplied roses to the Empress Joséphine which apparently sparked his interest in roses. When the famed rose breeder Jacques-Louis Descemet (1761-1839) had to flee the country, his stock and notes were rescued by Vibert. From A Celebration of Roses it is said “Descemet was a close friend of Vibert… it was Vibert who very hurriedly removed tens of thousands of rose seedlings from Descemet’s rose fields to his own nurseries, so that they would not be destroyed by the armies opposing Napoléon as they advanced on Paris in 1815.” According to The Quest for the Rose, Vibert told his grandson shortly before his death “I have loved only Napoléon and roses… after all the evils from which I have suffered there remain to me only two objects of profound hatred, the English, who overthrew my idol, and the white worms that destroyed my roses.”
In my collection, I have only 5 roses that came from Vibert’s garden, and 1 of those is very likely a mixup in commerce and of questionable Vibert-ness. I still like it, though. More on that in a minute. But let’s go in order of Vibert’s introductions and start with ‘Petite Lisette’ (1817), an Alba-Damask blend which I first shared on this blog HERE. I truly can’t find a single fault with ‘Petite Lisette’ other than she does not make a very good cut rose. Otherwise, perfection!
A new rose to our garden is one that may not actually be a Vibert rose. It’s called ‘Sultane Favorite’ (1823) and I purchased it as a band from Vintage before they closed. It happened to be under their Gallica category but as you can see from this listing, my Sultane Favorite does not match the Gallica described. There is another Sultane Favorite, a Portland, described HERE which more closely matches the one growing in our garden. However, according to HMF, “‘Sultane favorite’ and ‘Félicie’ in commerce is a Hybrid China and probably not the Portland by Vibert.” Hmmm. Well, either way, this is a very pretty and vigorous rose so I’m not complaining one bit. Nope!
Next is ‘Aimée Vibert’ (1828), a Noisette, which I’ve already introduced a few times HERE on the blog so there isn’t really much more to add except to say, once again, it seems nigh impossible for me to get a decent photo of this rose. It really is much prettier in person and what makes it so special, for me, is that it blooms when all the other roses have finished or are at rest.
You know my love of Gallicas….so when I read about a white Gallica my heart went pitter-pat. A white Gallica? They’re usually in shades of pink! ‘L’Ingénue’ (1833) is actually a China/Gallica hybrid, and in our garden, was slow to get started. However, she was also the one that I was able to propagate via a “cutting” (read: rabbit damage), and prompted a whole new way of propagating roses last summer which worked out splendidly. So now this garden has two L’Ingénue roses (yay!) and I’ve finally cracked the code on propagating roses in this climate (double-yay!) Read more about this pretty little rose HERE.
My last Vibert rose was actually introduced by Vibert’s chief gardener, M. Robert, who took over the nursery in 1851. According to HMF, “Between 1845 and 1851 both Vibert and Robert obtained roses, so that an axact attribution to either is difficult.” ‘Georges Vibert’ (1853), a Gallica, was named for Vibert’s artist grandson, Jehan-Georges Vibert. Again, I’ve talked about this rose a whole bunch so there’s not much more to add…other than I no longer have it! It was given away last autumn but I did manage to propagate some cuttings from it so it isn’t gone from me completely. See more photos of ‘Georges Vibert’ HERE.
To learn more about Vibert, including a list of his roses, see this really awesome article by Brent Dickerson HERE.