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Cecile Brunner, the Sweetheart Rose

 

Cecile Brunner must be the most popular climbing rose in California. She's readily available at nurseries, and in the Bay Area where I live, glorious mounds fill freeway beds, and long canes grace pergolas in city parks. In neighborhoods you may find her neat and tidy on an arch in the garden, or wantonly devouring garages and sheds.

 

Cecile Brunner Pergola_5

Cecile Brunner is fragrant, flexible, powerful, and ever-changing. The effulgence of a generous heart seems an apt description. Year after year, in my garden, she was a showstopper reflecting the nuances of that year's pruning and the always evolving shade pattern from a huge silver maple overhead. This image is from 2005.

 

Cecile brunner rose harvest

Cecile became a favorite photographic muse and treasured garden focal point.

 

Carolyn Parker holding a Cecile Brunner rose

The story begins in 1990 and this gardener's dreams of a gorgeous arch blooming with tiny pink charmers, or as they are fondly known–sweethearts. Two plants purchased in 3-inch band pots took only one year to meet at the top. 

 

Cecile Brunner Rose

Two years later, the rose appeared mature and resplendent in my first book, The Poetry of Roses. In 1995, the metal arch buckled and had to be propped up by two-by-fours! Four years later, a sturdy pergola, worthy of our Cecile, finally offered years of wonder and joy.

My photo archives are brimming with each year's progress–here are three: the first is from 2014, then comes 2017, and finally 2018. 

 

Cecile Brunner Arch 14

Cecile Brunner Arbor 17

Cecile Brunner on an Arbor

 

Below, as always, I love to show you glam shots of the blooming beauties. In the first image, a harvest of panicles (a group or cluster of flowers on a stem) in tied posies. The bouquets in the next two shots were created at Cecile's peak moments that particular spring. An Indian silk chiffon shawl inspired a lie-in for the last shot. Roses love to pose.

 

Cecile Brunner Bouquets

 

Cecile Brunner in small brass vase

 

Cecile Brunner in porcelain vase

 

Cecile Brunner on silk chiffon shawl

 

Growth Habit and Care

Cecile has sharp thorns and is extremely vigorous. Unless you have unlimited space where the twenty foot climber can grow wild, or you have an old building you want to camouflage, this rose requires no-nonsense pruning by a strong person wearing sturdy leather gloves, who can work on a ladder and make cut after cut with arms raised.

How to prune Cecile Brunner roses

Our sturdy pergola was built in 2001. Shown here a few years later, Cecile is  looking tidy after a big pruning. However, as you can see from the shots above she eventually got away from our control as the top growth got higher and higher.

I love to change pruning styles from year to year. Some years, I let the canes droop down in big swags, and other years they would be cut as short as possible for a more compact look.

 

Cecile Brunner Shrub

The original shrub grew no taller than five feet and was named Mlle Cécile Brunner.  It was hybridized in 1881 at the Ducher nursery in France, and named after the daughter of a Swiss nurseryman. When the shrub found its way to California, one of the canes grew out eight feet, was cloned and became the climbing variety, which is formally named Climbing Cecile Brunner. If you go to helpmefind.com, you'll find many more varieties.

Above, the shrub form is shown in my former garden. In 1976 she was lifted from her garden bed of many years and moved to two more homes, moved again in this garden three more times, and now crowded by salvia and receiving little water, is still blooming and giving love through her depth of beauty 48 years later. Says something about longevity doesn't it.

Both the climber and the shrub are disease-resistant, and  shade tolerant from zone 5 to zone 10. I've never seen blackspot or mildew on them and as-a-matter-of-fact, nasty insects stay away as well–a charmed life!

 

Cecile Brunner in big vase

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I hope you enjoyed this post. Please don't be shy–introduce yourselves, I'd love to hear from you. If you grow Cecile Brunner let us know your experience and where you live.

 


Perle d'Or – an A+ Rose

The Perle d'Or roses were looking so gorgeous – I thought they might look nice in new container, courtesy of Castlevetrano olives.

Last_perle_d'or

I liked the graceful, oversized jar the olives came in.

 

Perle-d'or

I tried them this way and that . . . and added a sprig of Jeanne La Joie roses.

 

Peach-pink-roses

Little did I know that this would be my last rose bouquet of 2015! A few days later we had an early freeze and the roses made their farewell.

 

Perle-d'or-rose-shrub copy

Perle d'Or is a Polyantha rose that blooms and blooms in carefree beauty. The shrub will grow up to 6 feet or more and is without disease in my California garden.

 

Perle-d'or-rose-bloom

 

 

 


Rose Bouquet Gathering of Royalty

 

It's a special privilege to harvest roses from one's own garden any day of the year. On May 16, for the Celebration of Old Roses, I knew it was going to be slim pickings though, since my roses were almost spent. Several shrubs only had one rose to offer, but in the end, the bouquet I made for display managed to include seventeen exquisite members of genus rosa.

 

Roses-outside

 

Mixed-roses

I'm kind of sentimental about these bouquets, because the offering always has so much history whether it's from a gardener's point of view or from rose history itself.

 

Madame-hardy-rose

I fell in love with Madame Hardy in an ancient church yard, on an overcast day in England.

 

The-swamp-rose

I first saw The Swamp Rose, R. Palustris in Marilyn Wellan's Louisiana garden. I thought it was a spirea with thin elegant leaves, as it hadn't bloomed yet. This sweet thing is my latest favorite– just look at those elegant buds.

 

Perle-d'or

The wonderful Perle d'Or, a must for every rose garden, in my humble opinion. It took me a long time to figure out how to get this to grow. I found it's best not to deadhead it, since it gets fresh growth along the panicles.

 

Carolyn-parker-rose

This little honey is a seedling that appeared at the foot of Kathleen in my garden. I think it would be fun to call her Carolyn Parker! 

 

I'll tell you the names of the ten other roses in the bouquet, because they are all fabulous, and you might want to look them up on Help Me Find and even purchase them for your garden. Albertine, Shoener's Nutkana, Jeanne La Joie, Kathleen, Escapade, R. roxbrughii, Pink Gruss an Achen, Shailer's Provence, Common Moss and I'm sorry to say, there are three I don't have names for.

 

Bouquet-in-house

As you can see, I never tire of taking pictures of such bouquets.

 

Bouquet-in-garden

And here is one last shot, after I finished putting it together in the cold windy morning–always a solitary and happy time.

 

 


From Our Fall Rose Garden

 

Yesterday (October 28, 2014), I had the pleasure of making two large, matching bouquets for a birthday event. The roses were just beginning to bloom in their last (fourth) cycle, and amazingly, a few hydrangeas had regrouped and were blooming fresh and blue. 

 

Pink-roses-&-hydrangeas

 

2-large-matching-rose-bouquets

My 74" x 36" island counter is just the right length for working simultaneously on two bouquets. A good idea if you want them to match each other. I first added long stems of my favorite mint pelargonium (this will be gone after the first frost). Then came the hydrangeas making a nice poufy nest for long and lovely stems of mostly pink roses.

 

Pink-roses-&-hydrangea-bouquet

Hydrangea-rose-bouquet

 

Renae-Rose

Pink-gruss-an-achen-&-hermosa-roses

Poulsen's-pearl

Hermosa, Pink Gruss an Aachen, Renae and Poulsen's Pearl are some of the roses included, two fabulous stems of Mrs. Oakley Fisher in bud, and long stems of Honor also made up the mix.

 

Hydraangea-bouquet

 

When the party was over, the roses were recycled for another designer, and I brought home the hydrangeas. Hmm– – – we'll see– – – there are many more rose stories out in the garden before winter comes.