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Alba Means More Than White

Rosa alba semi-plena

The word ‘alba’ means white, but there is a whole family of roses named alba – and not all of them are white. I’ll begin with Alba semi–plena which is white.  Mine grows in a shady spot which is not ideal. It is kind of leggy, but very pretty.

Madame Plantier

Mme Plantier is also white. Peter Beale says is ‘capable of climbing’ but definitely not in my garden.

Madame Legras de St. Germain

Mme Legras de St. Germain will not climb either in my garden, but she is a beautiful fragrant white.


This is an ancient rose, robust and with a heavenly perfume. It is a big shrub in my garden.

Passionate Nymph's Thigh

Whether you want to call this rose that dates back to the 1400s (at least) Maiden’s Blush, La Virginale, Cuisse de Nymphe, Passionate Nymph’s Thigh or La Seduisante, everyone agrees this is a beautiful, tough, fragrant rose. This is the first rose I planted and it thrives right under the roof drip line. It suffers the battering of falling icicles every winter, and bows to the south, but remains healthy and floriferous.

Felicite Parmentier

Felicite Parmentier struggles in my garden in a wet spot. It does not really thrive, and I keep promising myself to move it, or get a new one for a better spot because it is a wonderfully delicate pink rose.

Queen of Denmark

In my garden the Queen of Denmark (Konegin von Danemark) grows on a tiny bush, three feet away from the plant I put in, but it has struggled so that I don’t dare try to move it. A sumptuous blossom.

Every day other sumptuous blossoms join the Queen. I hope they will be joined by many ‘tourists’ on the Franklin Land Trust Farm and Garden Tour in Heath and Charlemont this weekend.  Click here for full ticket information.


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