a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


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Mme Isaac Péreire

Madame Isaac Péreire is an old Bourbon rose.  Bred by Armand Garçon de Rouen in 1880 and originally called “Le Bienheureux de La Salle”  it was re- named after a wealthy banker’s wife in 1881.  I can imagine the original Madame Isaac Péreire wearing a stunning silk dress of the same rich pink as the rose.  In fact the petals have a blush that is reminiscent of silk.  With its heavy, spicy perfume, described as smelling of raspberries, it is a remarkable rose.

It grows in our front garden against the stone wall and was in its first flush of flowers on Sunday.  The perfume in the garden was exquisite, the rose on one side and the Wisteria still producing new perfumed  flowers on the other.

The perfume of the rose attracts me to go and idle in the garden and to my surprise it attracts bumble bees too!  I had always understood that cultivated roses were not particularly attractive to bees, however, the open form of Madame Isaac Péreire allows them easy access unlike the closed  forms of the modern roses.

The centre of the rose is easily accessible.

The bees did not always fly directly to the centre but chose to explore a passage through the loose petals becoming invisible but easily detected by the echo of their humming in the petal maze.

There must be a generous pollen store in the  centre of the flower.

The bees were laden with heavy pollen sacs.

It was getting so busy that two bees were visiting the same flower.

There were buff-tailed bumble bees.

Red-tailed bumble bees.

Yellow bees.

And the most common bumble bee at the moment, which I cannot put a name to.

The Carpenter bee passed by as if looking for a piece of the action but did not join in, I think he was too big to slide through the silky petals.  There is still plenty of Wisteria for him to feast on.