ROSE OF THE WEEK
FANTIN LATOUR Shrub Rose. 5ft plus. 1900
Michael Gibson who is a well respected English rosarian once described this rose “This is one of the most beautiful roses of all” A statement that we would fully agree with as it has always been one of our favourites. It is quite a large shrub rose which produces sumptuous powdery pink blooms in abundance in mid summer. The large blooms are often 3ins (8cm) across when fully open and are packed with around two hundred petals. At first they are cupped; later the outer petals reflex to expose a central button of tightly packed smaller petals This enchanting old rose usually grows to around 4ft (1.2m) but is very versatile as if it is left un-pruned it can reach 10ft (3m) and be trained as a small climber. It makes a very attractive climber as the massed blooms tend to hang downwards which shows the blooms off to perfection.
It is only summer flowering so pruning can be a bit tricky to get the best results. If you want to keep it as a shrub it should be pruned lightly after flowering which will increase the blooms for the following year. If you require it to climb, leave it un-pruned except for taking out dead wood etc. You will possibly get less flowers, but the choice is yours. It is a healthy rose with very few problems and only a few thorns. It will do well in any situation or soil, but has shown the best results in a cool climate. Best of all. the perfume is intoxicating and ‘Fantin Latour makes a superb cut flower as the blooms last well in water. Every rose garden should have one.
Its origin is a little obscure, but it was discovered again in a garden by Graham Thomas who fell in love with it. There was no name on it, and it was just labelled (Best Garden Rose). Graham Thomas tried to trace its origin but was un-successful so named it ‘Fantin Latour’
Henri Fantin Latour (1836-1904) was a famous French painter renowned for his still life paintings of flowers, with many of his paintings being of Old Garden Roses. Like so many great artists he was almost unknown during his life. His work hardly sold in his native France and most of his work was sold in England. He was obviously a lover of roses as he built a rose garden in his country home where he died in 1904.
Full details on all our roses can be found on our web site.