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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

Welcome to many new subscribers!

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.

 


Thanks, Rose Hybridizers!

 

When Labor Day came to mind, I thought of rose hybridizers– for three hundred years, their passionate efforts have provided the world with amazing roses. To name a mere handful:

 

Rose-Hybridizers

 

Small-bouquets-2

 

Small-bouquet-3

 

. . . their creative obsessions gave me the lovelies shown here: Escapade; Soaring Spirits; Sweet Chariot; Paul Bocuse; Poulsen's Pearl; Windrush; Perle d'Or; Duchesse de Brabant; Happenstance; Little White Pet.

 

The vases, glasses actually, are a recent purchase (and inspiration) from Anthropologie, and the roses are leftovers from big bouquets. Choosing loose, fully open blooms was a sweet change from the fresh, turgid blooms I usually work with. The results seemed so festive and feminine–I should have had a party. Wishing you a lovely labor day-- maybe you will be in your garden . . .

 

A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.

~Albert Einstein

 


Pastel and White Naked Lady Bouquet

 

Off in a corner, under a large shrub rose I noticed miracle of miracles– my Amaryllis Belladonna, otherwise known as White Naked Lady, was in bloom!

 

Pastel-rose-bouquet-2

Thoughts of using this aqua container with pastel roses had been on my mind when serendipity kicked in, "Why not pick that exquisite creature?" Yes, I picked my one and only amaryllis stalk and began the bouquet in a very windy garden, and then finished it on the kitchen counter.

 

Pastel-rose-bouquet-1

 

White-naked-ladies

My friend Mary and I admired a whole row of these amaryllis in Barbara Worl's garden, and then one day a heavy package came in the mail. Inside were two of the huge bulbs! One for me and one for Mary. It's been in my garden for three years and has not yet multiplied. However, I'm exceptionally happy that it blooms! It's so odd how fresh leaves appear and then die, and then suddenly months later the flower stalk appears. I think I missed it altogether last year. Thank you so much Barbara! I'm especially happy to show it off here. And it is extremely fragrant!

 

Pastel-rose-bouquet-3

You can actually buy White Amaryllis Belladonna bulbs on Amazon.

 

Windrush

The three pale yellow roses you see in the bouquet are Windrush. I've had this rose for a number of years without really apprecitating it. Now I'm in love. Poulsen's Pearl, Escapade, Perl d'Or, Paul Bocuse (the most long lasting cut rose I know, but I wish it was a bigger shrub), and Duchesse de Brabant also make an appearance.

 

One aspect of serendipity to bear in mind is that you have to be looking for something in order to find something else.

~Lawrence Block

 

 

 


Mrs. Oakley Fisher Rose

A couple of weeks ago, I left for a 10-day jaunt to Oregon with the garden full of buds for its third bloom cycle. On my return, lucky me, blooming had just begun. 

Roses-in-the-kitchen

Mrs. Oakley Fisher was looking so gorgeous, I cut most of her open blooms. Here she is on the kitchen counter with Paul Bocuse and Belle Story.

 

Bucket-of-mrs-oakley-fisher-roses

This shot is from the sparse side of the bucket.

 

Mrs-oakley-fisher-diagram

Mrs. Oakley Fisher is a Hybrid Tea with graceful, elegant buds. Here's a diagram of sorts showing all her pretty parts.

 

Mrs.-Oakley-Fisher-Rosa

I've always wanted to know who Mrs. Fisher was. On helpmefind, Patricia Routley posted an engraving of the woman and few words saying she was one of the first elected "lady" members of The National Rose Society Counsel, January 1921, in the UK.

 

Bee-in-mrs-oakley-fisher-rose

 Bees adore her generous stamens.

 

Mrs-oakley-fisher-rose-bush

In my garden, Mrs. Oakley Fisher is almost 6-feet high. She's pretty much disease resistant. The matching climber in the background is Crepescule.

 

Peach-and-orange-roses

Coming home to such beauty and the promise of so much more gave me a sense of profound gratitude. It was joyful to see my garden and its bounty with fresh eyes.

 

Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.

~Lionel Hampton