Marie Pavie Speaks

michaelg(7a NC Mts)July 4, 2009

Why haven't you been coming to see me? . . .No, you haven't, that was weeks ago, June 14th, to be precise. All I do is bloom constantly for you and smell nice. I guess that's not good enough. Do you think I'm plain?. . .Yes, you do, I know it. You've been spending time with that rose from Argentina, haven't you?. . .Don't lie to me.

No, I'm not particularly comfortable. My feet have been wet for three weeks, and you know how I hate that. I can't get enough iron, just look at me, it's the rain and the pH. . .I don't care if 6.8 is just fine for the other roses, it's not just fine for me. Why don't you just give me some iron and sulfur each spring so we don't have to go through this every single year? . . . You forget? Yes, exactly.

Ouch, that's too much fertilizer. You know how sensitive I am. I already had chartreuse and pink leaves, and now my new growth will be getting brown edges. I don't like that fungicide, either. I think it stunts my shoots.

If you can't take proper care of me, just leave me alone. I'd be better off, I'm sure. You ignore me for weeks and then start pestering me with this and that, making things worse.

. . .Keep blooming? Well, of course, it's what I do. Frankly, I can't help it, so don't think it's all about you. I've been thinking, maybe I should try to meet someone new. If I can ever get my foliage in presentable shape.

Now there you go, sniffing around and going "Mmmm." It's not going to work this time, Buster. It's. . . .

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jerijen(Zone 10)

Michael, you are wonderful!

May I use this in an upcoming HRG Newsletter?


    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 4:02PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Jeri, I'd be delighted.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 4:21PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Michael, email me pvtly, please?
I really do love this!


    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 6:04PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

I love it too. If roses could speak, they'd sound exactly like that!


    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 6:22PM
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Michael, your writing is so clever. Thank you, I enjoyed that. Gean

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 9:23PM
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Darn it, Jeri, you beat me to it. Michael, that was a terrific piece of writing. You obviously know Marie more than passing well! I, too, would love to print this in the Heritage Roses Northwest newsletter if you'd grant permission, but if Jeri wants an exclusive, I'll stand down. Really nice piece.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 10:14PM
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Michael, what I want to know is how you got my Marie's cell phone number - or how she got yours! She's been beating me over the head with this stuff for months. I had a couple of weeks of peace in June after I got rough with her and her sister. I decided to chop them hard, but they cried and I only cut to the new growth. I couldn't believe she actually shut up for that long, but she's whining again. And before that I gave them Ironite. I thought surely that would mellow her out, but, no, she never stops with the accusations. And when she's not harping at me, she plays the withholding game...a flower now and a flower later while there are a dozen of buds hanging on the stem. Oh, she riles me!

And now to go behind my back, telling tales that are baseless to an acquaintance of mine. She didn't tell you how many inches of compost I gave her, did she? Or how I slaved in the heat to spread newspapers and pine straw over her feet. Well, that does it! She's just flattering herself if she thinks I have to go all the way to Argentina to replace her. RU is having a sale, and by golly, I'm going! And Mr. Shovel is driving.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 12:07AM
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gnabonnand(Zone 8 Texas)

Michael, I really enjoyed this too. And yes, I think you "know" Marie Pavie very well.
I give mine too much water, too much attention, etc.
There is a specimen of Marie Pavie at a nearly neglected local garden and that plant is the heathliest, happiest rose I've ever seen. All the roses around her look like crap, yet there she is, neglected and beautiful, every leaf dark green and clean.
Unlike you, until I read your comments, I am so ignorant that I keep pampering my Marie and wondering why she isn't as happy as the one in that unkept garden.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 8:07AM
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andreageorgia(z8 Cambridge, UK)

Terrific, Michael! So tell us ... do you love her truly?


    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 9:24AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Jeri, my email is down until sometime Monday.

Sometimes people write that roses like Marie "bloom uncomplainingly." Well, bloom she does, but as Sherry says, she's the biggest whiner in the garden. Her foliage is always showing some disorder or other. Usually it's a mixture of oversized dark green leaves, small or normal(?) slightly yellowish-green leaves, and iron-deficient chlorotic leaves. The normally brownish new growth comes in a bright peach color when she wants iron. She was the first rose to show waterlogging symptoms during that episode, and she does get fertilizer burn when nobody else does. I do think the triazole fungicides (Banner and Bayer) stunt her growth. (I proved that to my satisfaction by spraying only one-half of the bush.) In short, she is a hypochondriac who overreacts to eaverything.

However, I did intend the point Randy took away, that I've caused some of the problems by fussing over her too much. I need to get the pH down, then leave her alone and let her eat mulch. But then she will be spotty.

I do love the plant habit and the wafting fragrance. But her complaining and her perverse reactions irritate me no end. I am so glad to hear that it isn't just me.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 11:50AM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Michael -- No rush.

Sue -- Yes, we can share. "Rose Letter" doesn't come out until Aug. -- When do you print next?

Quite a few roses in my garden suffer from the same complaint that Marie whines about.
I suppose it's hard-hearted of me, to insist that they grow here, with this soil and water . . .


    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 12:45PM
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Jeri, we'll publish late July/early August, too.

Marie grows beautifully here without the concerns you raise, but whether that's to her credit I don't know. It may be the three-foot-deep top soil and compost mix that we used to build the elevated beds, creating a decent pH and fabulous drainage. She gets manure and alfalfa in the spring and early summer and performs in dappled shade throughout the season with no foliage issues.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 1:49PM
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Michael, maybe she's angry because HER NAME IS SPELLED WRONG. Maybe her real name was Marie Madeleine Valentine Pavy born March 18, 1870 in Lyon, France. She would have been 18 when Allegatiere bred the rose.
Seems there were some Pavys living in Lyon, France. Check it out at
Good a guess as any. How long have I been desperately searching for Marie Pavie, 8-10 years? What a lovely name, Marie Madeline Valentine Pavy.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 11:28PM
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carolfm(z7upstate SC)

I love your stories, Michael. They make me laugh!


    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 8:52AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Hi Deb, I remember when you were searching for Marie, the person. Did you find French Paviés with the accent? Without it? How about Pavics? Couldn't Pavie w/o the accent be a phonetic equivalent of Pavy?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 11:57AM
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I shyly post this bowing to your greater talent.
I loved the bit about that other rose, like jealousy towards another woman, I can imagine the rose from Argentina replying
"So, I have seen you in the garden with that Marie.
She is a pale blushing thing, and is nothing compared to me. I throw the gauntlet down and will pierce you with my thorns if you come close to me again."


    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 7:00PM
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Hey, Mike, I've been checking everywhere for the one true Marie for a long time. I never found any Pavics. I located almost 30 Marie Pavies. They were in Canada, France, England, and Louisiana. One problem was that it was common to name your child Marie, even if it was male. A Pavie family was famous in France. There was Chateau Pavie, Pavie Street, a famous explorer. Some of them met the guillotine. I found them with an accent, without, and spelled Pavy.
A lot of the problem is the French never collected their records in a central location. And the French never turned up at, until the last couple years, except for the nobility.
I've had no luck finding Alphonse Allegatiere, though I found Allegatieres in Lyon.
Marie Madeleine Valentine Pavy is the best I've done, right time frame, town and age. If somebody could figure out this website, maybe we'd know. The Alphonse Allegatiere I did find was from 1792.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lyon records

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 8:05PM
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odyssey3(7 noVA)

Awwww, don't pull a Sanford on poor Marie Pavie!

I just got her younger sister Marie Daly today.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 11:26PM
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organic_tosca(9/Sunset 14)

There is some amazing and delightful writing talent on this forum!. I was laughing so hard, my sister called out from the other room to ask if I was all right.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 11:44PM
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Well, then I started messing where I shouldn't be messing again. I KNOW DARN WELL THERE'S NOTHING TO DO BUT BUY A PLANE TICKET TO LYON, FRANCE.
DECIPHERING THE FRENCH ON THAT WEBSITE, IT SUDDENLY HIT ME....... I'd been spelling Alegatiere with 2 Ls. I found him marrying Jeanne Francoise Fontaine Nov. 22, 1851. Then Marie Madeleine Valentine Pavy married Pierre Jules Buffaud Oct. 17, 1891.
Out here in Montana, they did not record anything but deaths until the 1930's, so the missing children and deaths don't surprise me.
I grew Marie Pavie one beautiful summer and then she died, as everything called a polyantha has around here. You're a lucky man, Michael.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 1:03AM
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that was BIG FUN michaelg, thank-you.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 1:20PM
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vuwugarden(Central TX 8b)

Hi Michael,

I'm planting Marie Pavie this weekend so wanted to pick your brain about her. BTW, you are a CLEVER writer  enjoyed your Marie Pavie speaks post very much!!!

Michael and anyone else who have Marie, do you have any recommendations or warnings for me prior to planting her?

Appreciate your responses,


    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 4:44PM
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This rose does just terrible for me. I was just thinking yesterday that I really should just sp her and put her out of her misery! I get a nice spring flush and then the bs takes over and looks so ratty and ugly the rest of the year. This will be her 3rd summer so it she doesn't shape up this year that's it. Maybe it's our humid summers? Does anyone else in the humid south have this same problem with her?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 6:49PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

I have to say that she was disappointing in my garden, as she mildewed here.
But my friend Jim Delahanty grows her to advantage a few miles inland, where the air is hotter and drier.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 7:29PM
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myloki(7 Va)

What a fun thing to read - thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 9:34AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Vuwu, in Texas you may want to adjust the soil pH downward to 5.5-6.5.

I finally got around to treating Marie's spot with sulfur last year, and she has not shown iron deficiency this year.

Momof2, Marie is disease resistant in Texas, but she spots here in Asheville. I spray occasionally with Bayer.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 2:32PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

:D :D That was great fun, Michael :D

Marie is going to the Hot Hot garden near the road if my plans don't change. Uh-oh. Think she can take it? The air is drier there, anyway. Hmmmm.

Water will be provided, of course, but I'd hoped she'd learned to be a tough Southern gal by now ;)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 5:32PM
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Michael, what a lovely piece.

My MP is such a beautiful bush until late summer. Then she gets BS, drops her leaves, refoliates, and blooms again. This all became apparent when I stopped spraying about 3 years ago. I know I should sp her, but I just cannot. She only looks ugly two to three weeks out of the summer. And her scent is heavenly.

I would like to hear what some of your other roses have to say.


    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 9:22AM
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This is still one of my all time favorite posts on Gardenweb. And Marie Pavie is one of my very favorite roses. She is such a buxom, billowy beauty in my garden. I keep waiting for her to get temperamental like Michael suggests here. (Actually I have three Marie's and one is sulking so she must not be as happy as the others...) LOVE IT MICHAEL!!!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 9:58PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)


What a perfect post. We whine and cry when our roses don't perform to our expectations. However, we never stop to think what our roses would say to us about how we treat them.

Thanks for the reminder.


    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 12:29AM
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I'm laughing so hard I'm crying! You DO write gardening articles and books, don't you? You are the David Sedaris of the gardening world.


P.S. My husband plays harmonica, too. You harp guys are something special. :-)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 2:36AM
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I got to laugh at this all over again. You and sherry could be the George and Gracie of the gardening world.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 3:41PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Yes. This is STILL one of the best things ever posted here!


    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 3:47PM
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