Where did all the albas go?

nastarana(5a)March 6, 2012

They sell out at VG, Pickering and High Country Roses, sometimes within weeks of offerings being posted.

Last spring I ordered and paid for Ferox during the VG offering of roses from Eurodesert, only to be told a while later that it was "unavailable", with card charges reversed. Sigh. I had previously tried to buy it from Cliff himself, but was not in line soon enough, alas. Ferox, along with Sophy de Merilly (alba, not moss, confidently asserted Paul Zimmerman) were rumoured to live at Ashdown, but disappeared after that nursery closed and were not seen in commerce again in North America, where much of the growing area is in fact colder than most of Europe, and where albas would be an excellent choice.

Now comes VG's spring availability list, which was supposed to feature old European roses....no albas.

I already bought the more commonly available ones, from RVR, VG and Pickering, among others. The rarities, like Ferox, SdM, Princesse de Lamballe, etc. would seem to have departed these shores forever.

OK, they don't sell like KO does, but it is not true that there is no market at all for albas.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

They are difficult to propagate. I've never managed to root one, and they have the reputation of being one of the marks of a truly talented propagator. Therefore, the reliable sources (as in places that actually have them) tend to bud them instead. The list tends to be - Pickering.

The same is true for spinossisimas.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 2:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I remember we discussed this before. I've rooted 'Alba Maxima', 'Celestial', 'Maiden's Blush' (or perhaps it's GMB) with no particular difficulty, and have gotten a plant each of 'Chloris' on one attempt, 'Queen of Denmark' after a lot of tries--all right, that one's difficult; I've been resorting to layering it lately. No success after repeated tries with 'Felicite Parmentier', but my plant is weak; but I have a baby a friend rooted. Of course with our climate being different we almost certainly root on a different schedule, and perhaps that's why, but I don't regard Albas as a class as hard to root, and my methods are not sophisticated. Also, I remember back in the 1990s when HeritageOGR, as it was at the time, offered a good selection of Albas own root; I know because I bought most of them. All this makes me think that difficulty of propagation from cuttings is not the problem, though it may be they don't lend themselves to the methods gardeners in cold climates employ.

My suspicion, Nastarana, is that there are too few of you who desire Albas. Not enough market. I hope you find them: they're great roses. I must say I don't remember seeing 'Ferox' or 'Sophie de Merilly' offered here in Europe, though I haven't been searching for them. Possibly some varieties are rare because they are hard to root, or rare just because they're rare (nobody knows about them; nobody asks for them; mother plants are hard to get, and so on).


    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 3:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Blanche de Belgique is out of stock (already!) at RVR. I clicked on the put your name on a waiting list button and was directed to a page wherein I was informed that I was not among the favored few allowed access to that content.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 3:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mad Gallica, difficulty in propagation would help explain why they are so rare, if not why they have lasted for centuries.

Melissa, The albas I have attempted to propagate did not take. Layering might be a good bet; would you recommend doing that before or after bloom? I am wondering if albas might not be a good candidate for air layering?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 3:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tessiess, SoCal Inland, 9b, 1272' elev

I also was hoping (and expecting) to see some albas on Vintage's spring release. I'm very disappointed that there are none. My albas are among my favorite and most rewarding roses. I want to add more. There aren't usually that many available, and I agree with you nastarana about the rare ones--poof gone in a flash!

I too have read repeatedly that they are hard to propagate. And Melissa in Italy, I think what you said about the methods employed has merit.

As to Ferox, that one looked interesting. Thought I would order it from Vintage, but it was sold out almost immediately. I wonder where Cliff got his plant?

I don't have all the albas Pickering has. I ordered a bunch of roses already from them, this year and last fall. Many have been "final season" roses but no albas--fortunately they don't seem to be discontinuing many from this class. I don't want to order more than I can handle at once, but there sure are a number of their final season roses I'd still like to get. Just took another look at Pickering's alba page. Those of you who grow Armide, what is your opinion of her?

Melissa in California

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 4:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Method is highly determined by climate. Rooting them under mist at The Huntington wasn't generally an issue. That was a hot, fairly arid, long heat season where mist, heat and quality/intensity of light definitely helped. There, I could also easily root Mermaid spring through fall, yet in the colder, damper, foggier climate of San Jose, "he who shall remain nameless" declared he could only root Mermaid in September. That's when he had sufficient heat and light intensity for it to succeed and when the plant had the necessary condition for propagation.

Depending upon where you attempt it, air layering may work. Mme. Legras de St. Germain suckered and layered in my Newhall garden (mid SoCal desert) in the deep, damp horse manure mulch. Once I determined her flowers really didn't like the sudden switch from "spring" to "bellows of Hades" heat and that she would definitely be happier in a milder summer environment, it took quite a few years to eliminate the regrowth from her tenacious roots. I don't know how many plants I gave away from those immortal roots!

The plant was bullet proof, but the flowers lasted a matter of minutes. If I wasn't there when the heat hit, I could literally miss the annual bloom because all buds either exploded open or fried on the bush. When I got to enjoy them, they were sumptuous with a delicious fragrance. A great rose but definitely not suited to that environment. Kim

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 4:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tessies, You must have Armide. I grew an Armide in CA, from Greenmantle, now I have another in NY from Pickering.

Armide grows into the fountain or umbrella shape of many albas and alba hybrids, such as Mme. Plantier and Celestial. It is beautiful throughout the year. Bloom was only 2-3 wks in CA, even so, I would not have been without her. Flowers are white and quite double. My bush was extremely healthy, with never a trace of mildew to be seen. I used to grow morning glories over the albas in summer, with no damage to the albas at all, even though morning glories will often smother less vigorous plants.

I did manage to purchase a Heldenrosen last spring from VG, EXCEPT, what I received was most likely not an alba. sigh. If it emerges from winter cover alive and grows maye I can figure out what it is.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 5:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Northland Rosarium just started carrying Queen of Denmark...and they have Madame Plantier, too. I've had excellent luck with their roses. Here's a link :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to Northland Rosarium

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 6:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tessiess, SoCal Inland, 9b, 1272' elev

Thanks nastarana! I'm very pleased at how wonderfully my roses from Pickering are doing, might as well add another to my order. Especially as Vintage doesn't appear to have others to tempt me now--was going to add some more to fill up the box, but lacking the roses I want in the latest release, I'll just order more from Pickering. Maybe another gallica and a rugosa too. Unfortunately the crop of Ipsilante at Pickering didn't materialize, so I picked another to replace it (Wild Edric, a very interesting new rugosa from Austin).

Armide sounds lovely. Two to three weeks of bloom is fine with me. Felicite Parmentier blooms for more than a month here, and I just adore her. Health is superb, typical for albas in my garden. How is the scent on Armide?

Hmm, I don't have Madame Plantier.... She was gorgeous at Eurodesert last year, absolutely covered in white flowers, fragrant too. Everywhere I've seen her in SoCal she's looked very happy.

Greenmantle is also one of my favorite places to buy roses. I wonder if Marissa will be adding any more albas?

Have you tried any of the Rolf Sievers albas?


    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 7:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have been told that the rose generally sold as Armide in the USA is actually Madame Plantier. I cannot vouch for the truth of this myself.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 7:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mme. Plantier is lovely also. She can be left to make a fountain shaped shrub, or, I understand, some folks train her like a climber, into trees or on trellises.

I seem to remember that the fragrance of Armida was quite nice, but possibly not as strong as that of semi-plena or maxima.

My Armida has not yet bloomed, but has grown into a lovely fountain, so should bloom this summer.

I only have one of the Sievers albas, royal blush, which I bought at Freedom Farm last summer. I am hoping for maybe one flower this summer. In this zone 5 (or 6) climate, it seems to be taking two years for my albas to gain size and bloom; I think they bloom on the previous years' canes. In pictures, the Sievers roses seem to lack charm, but I thought I would try one.

I don't think Marissa has added anything new in years. But, if she still has an import license, maybe she could be persuaded to import again if she were assured of buyers waiting for the plants. If you ever look up albas on HMF, you will find a list of found albas, about 5 or 6 of them, all beautiful in picture, all different, and not looking like more clones of Great Maiden's Blush. They are all at the same nursery in Germany, and all seem to have been discovered by the same person. Maybe I shall have to try importing myself if no nursery will do it.

Have you tried Shropshire Lad, which is an alba hybrid from David Austen?

I was going to order from the VG spring availability list, but I think now I will order from High Country Roses. They have a found alba, as well as some other interesting roses discovered at Fairmont Cemetary and around Colorado.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 8:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Probably, it was the sublime fragrance of Albas in my stepgrandmother's Vermont garden that began my fascination with roses. IMO, there is no class whose fragrance surpasses that of Albas. Much to my regret, I've never lived and gardened in a location where they thrive.

I did not realize, however, that Albas are difficult to propagate. I distinctly recall that on our summer trips to Rutland, Vt, there were always pots of them awaiting new owners and new gardens. I've no idea what technique she used to root them.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 8:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

rosefolly, I have Mme. Plantier and RICA Armide growing side by side outside my kitchen door. I should be in a good position to proove or disproove that particular rumour come summer.

My Mme. Plantier came from Hartwood, and I think the Armide was one of a bunch of albas from RVR which got fried during a two week journey across country by mail. I only lost one which goes to show just how healthy and vigorous this class is.

When I had them in CA in the 90s, I am quite sure that those were not the same cultivars. Armide was pure white, while MP has that touch of pale yellow in the heart of the blossom which has convinced some that it is an alba-noisette hybrid. It is quite hardy, so clearly did not inheirit noisette tenderness. As I recall, Armida was a slightly shorter bush. MP throws out looong canes, which can be trained to climb.

The MP I have now also seems so far to be a bit larger than the Armida. The growth habits are very similar.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 8:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I recommend that you read up on propagation by layering, as I'm no expert on the subject. I believe I did it while pruning in later winter, and that may be a terrible time, for all I know. It's just that I was there, and the rose was there, so I did it.
N.B. I have trouble rooting Noisettes, which many gardeners say are easy to propagate; and Graham Thomas claimed Gallicas are easy to root, which has not been my experience (the old roses are variable within their classes, though). I believe what Kim says is true: a given method works for some roses but not all. I need to expand my method base, evidently.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 12:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Campanula UK Z8

hardwood cuttings have worked for me although only a 50% success rate and only alba semi-plena and alba suaveolens.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 8:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
iowa_jade(C 5b H 6)

Armide appears to be a smaller size bush, more upright in nature, and it is a pure white. I love Albas. Great Maidens' Blush is washing into our creek and I was going to try layering some of the canes this year, before it visits New Orleans.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 9:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oops! The DA abla hybrid is Shropshire Lass, not Lad. The Lad I had in CA and it did not impress. One annual bloom just in time to be devoured by the chafer beetles.

I would be interested in hearing if anyone has grown A Shropshire Lass, a hybrid of Mme. Butterfly and Mme. Legras.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 3:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

laverder lass, you enabler, you! I was innocently wanderng through the Northland Rosarium website looking at the gorgeous pictures, rose ordering finished for the time being (famous last words, I know). They have Rhonda! I thought Rhonda was all but extinct! They have Pink Meidilland, which I consider KO for people with taste.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 4:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nastarana- Northland Rosarium has many beautiful roses! I live close enough to drive over and pick up my order, but all the bands I've ordered have been very healthy and some are quite large, too. Darlow's Enigma and Celsiana were huge and the two Veilchenblaus and Bleu Magenta have gotten through two cold winters. I ordered five more roses, over the holidays...one the Queen of Denmark! :)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 4:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You will love the Queen of Denmark. She does tend to flop, being most likely half Damask, and will need some support.

If you know the owners at NR, might you be able to encourage them to acquire more albas?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 10:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I didn't know that QoD was thought to be half Damask, but I believe it: she is such a thorny creature! My plant in half shade is floppy; the one in full sun and grown lean is more compact and erect. So far QoD shows no tendency to sucker, which is a pity; some of the Albas spread themselves around moderately.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 11:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In our college mist system, notorious for being able to "put roots on a broom handle," we've had very mixed results with Albas. I have not tried many, but of the few I've tried, often it is with complete failure. But when I've been successful, I think I'm observing something that may be important -- whereas with most roses, a thick, hefty cutting is more likely to root than a very thin, wimpy one, it seems to me (from very limited data) that I get the best Alba rooting from those wiry thin stems that one would normally not even consider trying. I have one that we call "Ethel Yount's White," because it was from my grandmother's garden -- it may be Alba Semiplena or something very similar, and I just rooted a bunch of them. Most of the successes were very thin.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 8:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

According to HMF, Armide is supposed to be light pink.

The Armide I got from RVR is Mme Plantier. Don't know if it's a mixup or if they're selling a misidentified plant.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 10:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dr. Manners said: whereas with most roses, a thick, hefty cutting is more likely to root than a very thin, wimpy one, it seems to me (from very limited data) that I get the best Alba rooting from those wiry thin stems that one would normally not even consider trying.

Sheerly anecdotal, but out of 4 or 5 r. hugonis cuttings I have, the only ones that are taking are very thin, whippy cuttings. The more pencil-like ones that started well have died. The thin ones are still showing promise. I don't know if that is particularly pertinent, but have wondered why that is.

I really like alba roses as well. QoD is going into its third spring; it seems to be a sparse bloomer so far. Have you all noticed that she is slower to mature? I contrast that with alba maxima that in its second spring was bloom covered. Both grafted from Pickering.

Three others are new this year. Which of yours set hips? Is Maiden's Blush much smaller than Great Maiden's Blush?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 10:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nastarana- I've met the owner (we're not friends, but she's very nice) and I think she will carry more albas, if this one sells well. Albas would seem to be a good choice, with our winters, so if locals 'discover' them, or people order them online...I'm hoping we'll see more albas in the future, too :)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 12:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

lucetial. the photos in HMF do not show a pink flower. They do look very like what I grew about a decade ago. I don't recall the buds having the pink color shown in the pix, but I may have simply not noticed.

It may be that in my CA climate, the color faded fast.

Once my two plants leaf out for spring and bloom, I should be able to tell if I have two of the same cultivar. The only alba on which I have ever seen repeat bloom was the Jeanne d'Arc I had from Vintage Bloomers, and I had doubts about the ID of that one.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 8:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tessiess, SoCal Inland, 9b, 1272' elev

Just as a followup on the Rolph Sievers albas, I called Heirloom today because one of their old catalogs that I have (1996) has a whole page of Mr. Sievers hybrid albas. None on their website currently. So I asked about 3 of them--Crimson Blush, Lemon Blush, and Morning Blush (they had in the old catalog, but I didn't ask about Royal Blush, Summer Blush, and White Blush). I was told they still have these in their collection, but none being propagated at the present time. So I wonder if there were enough interest (as in enough of us willing to write Heirloom with orders) they might produce some bands for us.

Here's the entry from page 7 for Morning Blush (the only one stated to repeat bloom):

"MORNING BLUSH TM (SIEmorn)(PRR): In full bloom this was the most beautiful rose in our gardens. It will be hard to describe its beauty but I must try. Imagine a rose bush that grows tall and upright in the center and then flows outward from the base like a fountain and all of this completely covered with hundreds of exquisite, semi-double blooms of purest white, edged strawberry-red. It was a sight to behold and enthralled our visitors. The center of the bush grows upward to 4 - 5 feet and the base spreads out flat on the ground forming a 6 - 7 foot circle of bloom. Extremely profuse spring bloom with an occasional bloom during the summer. (1988) Photo on back cover. AL621 9.95"


    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 8:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tessiess, SoCal Inland, 9b, 1272' elev

Here's a little alba news from me.;) I have Chloris on order from Pickering for November delivery. They have sold out of her already, BUT they do 11 other albas still available: Alba Maxima, Blush Hip, Celestial, Felicite Parmentier, Great Maiden's Blush, Konigin von Danemark, Maiden's Blush, Mme Legras de St. Germain, Mme Plantier, Semi-Plena, and Suaveolens, http://www.pickeringnurseries.com/web_store_alba.cgi?&variety=alba

Just received an order from High Country Roses in Colorado. Decided to take a chance on an alba found in Denver's Fairmount Cemetery called Jeremiah Pink. It was quite large for the pot (roughly equivalent in size to a band but with a wider and shallower container) and had an abundance of leaves. Arrived during one of our heat waves! but didn't seem to skip a beat. Now in a one gallon pot. See HCR's found rose page, http://highcountryroses.com/Qstore/Qstore.cgi?CMD=009&DEPT=1076372882&CAT=1110979713&BACK=A0007A1B01076372882B1

Heirloom now has one of the Rolf Sievers' albas in stock, Golden Blush. It's a cross of Maiden's Blush with the hybrid tea Golden Giant. The picture on Heirloom's site looks pretty, but HMF describes it as orange-pink, with photos that tend more to the orange side. I have an aversion to orange roses, so I don't know that I will try this one. If they decide to offer Crimson Blush or Summer Blush that will likely be another story. Imagine a RED alba!

Heirloom's alba page, http://www.heirloomroses.com/roses/old-garden-roses/albas.html?limit=all

Look how many are out of stock! It appears there are alba fans wanting to shop.;)


    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 4:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
AnneCecilia z5 MI

Just a note to insert in the discussion of the Sievers' modern albas: they lack the fragrance of what I think of as "true" albas. I have a 12 year old bush of Morning Blush and yes, it is a pretty rose - but absolutely scentless. I would never put it in the same class as say, Mme Legras de St. Germain (my favorite alba.)

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 9:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tessiess, the Jeremiah Pink I have from High Country is what I know as Banshee. It's a nice rose if you are not familiar with it, though it does ball sometimes.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 9:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
catsrose(VA 6)

I can't help with the Alba problem--I can't seem to propagate anything but willows. But I will take this opportunity to complain about Vintage's offerings for the last few years. It's all hybrid teas and very, very short on OGRs.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 9:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

I agree that Vintage seems to have a disproportionate number of hybrid teas and floribundas, but it does also have a good supply of polyanthas, teas and noisettes. It may be that because of their California location the European old roses are more difficult to propagate and raise successfully. I've also bought the shorter Bourbons such as the SdlM clan which do very well for me, but then again they seem more suited for a warm, dry climate. It seems logical that nurseries in colder areas would be a better bet for the roses that need cold winters to do well.


    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 12:00PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Pink multiflora ?
A local rose member (9b Vegas) gave me a “PINK MULTIFLORA...
Can anyone help with 'Lady Banks' puzzle?
I took cuttings of R. banksiae lutea and R. banksiae...
Lizzy in the garden
Off topic - sorry, but I know you all like animals....
Can I have an antique rose hedge in zone 10?
Hi all! I recently moved into a house in coastal SoCal...
looking for McGredy's Yellow
Any one out there know of a source for McGredy's yellow,...
Sponsored Products
Sunburst Mirror
| Dot & Bo
Sasha II Satin Nickel Three-Light Bath Fixture with Habanero Glass
$432.00 | Bellacor
Blueair Hepasilent Air Purifier 650E Smoketop Filter Kit
$149.95 | FRONTGATE
3-speed 20-inch Cyclone Pivot Fan
Ingo 4-Light Flushmount by Philips Forecast Lighting
$258.00 | Lumens
Vig Furniture - 5025 - Modern Bonded Leather Sectional Sofa -...
Great Furniture Deal
Yellow Individual Popcorn Bowl - Set of Two
$7.99 | zulily
Airis Collection Cast Plate 18 1/2" High Dark Sky Wall Light
Lamps Plus
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™