It was sometime around 1977 that I met a beautiful and tiny French Canadian soprano, Ginette Duplessis. I had met her through the Vancouver French CBC Radio station. I wrote about her famous pair and Pernod recipe here.
Ginette again was in my memory today. In spite of the cloudy and rainy days a rose that all these years has been most reluctant to do anything except get downy mildew on it leaves finally is blooming as if there were no tomorrow. The rose is extremely rare in our parts. It is Rosa 'Splendens'. It is sometimes called 'Ayrshire Splendens'. This is because these are rambler roses (they bloom once but spread in all directions quite agressively) from a county in south-western Scotland (until the 1890's). This rose has the distinction of being the only rose with a peculiar scent that the English call myrrh. I have written extensively about my fondness for this scent. Here is one occasion. And all the subsequent roses that smell of myrrh somehow must have Splendens in their past.
Rosa 'Splendens' came into my garden via Robin Denning and his excellent nursery on Vancouver Island Brentwood Bay Nursery which is not far from the Victoria Ferry terminal. Denning grows roses that only picky people would buy. It was at Brentwood Bay that I found a de-listed (the rose was supposed to get all kinds of diseases) David Austin rose called 'Immortal Juno'. She grows well in my garden and, naturally, is also myrrh scented.
It took 10 years for Rosa 'Fantin Latour' to finally bloom as she is supposed to do. She did this last year. It would seem that many roses have an exended childhood and or a long juvenile period. But this year Rosa 'Splendens'is out and when I placed my nose into one of the roses I could smell Ginette Duplessis's pairs!
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