Posted tagged ‘roses’

Roses and More at the Rodin Museum

September 10, 2011

My vacation last month was a big splurge – a trip to Paris and Oxford, in belated celebration of a significant birthday. I treated myself to a week in the City of Lights with my two sons, then took the Eurostar to London (senior discount: half price! I guess there are some advantages to getting older) where a friend who lives in Oxford whisked me away to stay with her for a week.

August may not be the best time of year to visit Paris, but I had no complaints. And although I didn’t go to photograph gardens, my new Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lens proved to be a reliable walk-around friend and I brought back a boatload of photos. Today, some scenes from the garden of the Hotel Biron, home to the Rodin Museum.

Rodin Museum, Hotel Biron garden

From the garden in front of the Rodin, you can enjoy not only roses and tightly pruned yews but also a stunning view of the Invalides.

As it exists today, this garden looks nothing like it did originally. (Rodin’s secretary – the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who discovered the site – described it as having “an abandoned garden, where rabbits can be seen . . . jumping through the trellises like in an old tapestry.” Add that to the fact that other artists such as Jean Cocteau, Isadora Duncan, and Henri Matisse were already occupying the premises, and one can understand the allure of moving in.) The rose garden in front of Rodin’s masterpiece, The Gates of Hell, was initially planted in the 1920’s, shortly after the building became the museum of Rodin’s works that it is today.

Rodin Museum garden, Hotel Biron

Paths flanked by sculpted yews, softened by roses, lead visitors to Rodin

A garden dedicated primarily to sculpture has to have its planting scheme and components chosen carefully. Most of the Hotel Biron’s grounds – as is true of many other public garden spaces I saw in Paris – are dominated by lawn areas and large yews carefully sculpted into conical shapes. The roses soften an otherwise very formal feel to the garden.

I was impressed with how many roses in bloom I saw in the garden, despite the lateness of the summer. There was even one named “Rodin,” created by the famous hybridizing firm Meilland. It originates from the Knock-Out rose; seven hundred of the Rodin roses were planted on the southern terrace of the Hotel. The color has been described as a “Tyrian purple,” but I thought it more pink in hue.

Rosa Rodin, Rodin Museum, Hotel Biron


Speaking of the southern side of the Museum, it is a “knockout” by itself. A long central axis of lawn is flanked by two parterres (designed by landscape architect Jacques Sigard in 1993) with “thematic circuits.”

Hotel Biron gardens, Rodin Museum

The rear garden area of the Hotel Biron

Hydrangea paniculata shrubs were at peak bloom in the parterres.

Hotel Biron gardens, Rodin Musum

Panicle hydrangeas and other shrubs edge the parterres.

At the end of the rear garden is a large pond with Rodin’s sculpture Ugolino devouring his children (a cheery thought).

Hotel Biron, Rodin Museum, sculpture

A view of the Hotel Biron from the rear of the garden, with one of Rodin

The grounds are meticulously maintained.

Hotel Biron, Rodin Museum

A groundskeeper at the museum prunes roses in one of the beds on a hot August day. Note the horse chestnut tree in the foreground, with leaves affected by a bacterium that has spread to many of these trees in France and Europe in general.

For more information on the garden of the Hotel Biron, click here. If you are in Paris and interested in visiting, the Museum is located in the 7th arrondissement, near the Invalides, on the rue de Varenne.

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This post marks the 100th “episode” of Garden Shoots! I’m grateful to everyone who has visited, whether regularly or only once.
Thanks to the demands of my fall design and planting schedule in the “real world,” Garden Shoot posts will appear on a every-other-week basis for the remainder of this year.

My Favorite Floribunda Rose, Our Lady of Guadalupe

December 3, 2010

As most of my friends know, I wasn’t a big fan of roses in the garden until I visited England in 2003. My tour’s stop at David Austin Roses’ headquarters will be the subject of another post, I promise, in part because I have any number of wonderful photos to share.

But here in the Washington DC area, finding roses that work well in the average garden without extra care is a challenge. There is, of course, the ubiquitous ‘Knockout Rose’ series, which have an extended bloom period and fewer problems with black spot (the bane of rose growing here) than other varieties. To me, they look best planted in groups and are not ideal candidates for cutting or up-close admiration. And hybrid teas, as beautiful as they are when at their best, require a lot of specialized care and have a growth habit I personally find somewhat awkward to incorporate into designed borders.

Rosa Our Lady of Guadaloupe, floribunda rose

The floribunda rose 'Our Lady of Guadalupe'

One of my clients, however, wanted some roses in her garden when we were designing it five or six years ago, and so I did some research and ended up planting a floribunda rose, ‘Our Lady of Guadaloupe,’ right outside her kitchen door. To say it has not disappointed is an understatement.

Floribunda roses are a cross between polyantha roses and hybrid teas. One of the first developed was “Gruss an Aachen,” which I saw at Broughton Castle in England in 2003. Our Lady of Guadalupe, like all floribundas, has small but prolific blooms that can cover the plant.

Rosa Our Lady of Guadalupe, roses, floribunda roses

A mass of the 'Lady of Guadalupe' roses in bloom on a single shrub in September

This ‘Lady’ begins blooming as early as April and is often going strong as late as October or November. Its blo0ms can rival those of any hybrid tea’s, in my book.

Rosa Our Lady of Guadalupe, floribunda rose

Both the buds and the mature flowers of Our Lady of Guadalupe are delightful despite their relatively small size.

Add a light, sweet scent and its relative resistance to black spot, and you have a great small shrub rose for the mixed border. My client grows it alone, surrounded by annuals for complementary summer color (blue salvia and white “Euphorbia Diamond Frost”) but it’s versatile enough to incorporate in other settings.

Want a different color? Here’s the floribunda rose ‘Eureka,’ growing at Brookside Gardens near me, in a glorious golden yellow hue.

Rosa floribunda Eureka, floribunda rose, Brookside Garden Rose Garden

Floribunda rose 'Eureka' blooming in May 2004 in the Rose Garden at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland

So if you haven’t made the acquaintance of this kind of rose, put it on your list for spring. A further bonus for planting the Lady of Guadalupe rose: Jackson and Perkins’ website indicates that the company  donates five percent of its net sales of this rose to Hispanic College Fund scholarships.

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