Many rose growers are familiar with Mister Lincoln, and not just the famous President of the United States. The rose known as 'Mister Lincoln' may have been bred in the United States, but one of its parents happens to be a French Meilland rose known as 'Charles Mellerin.' Although I have only seen photos and read descriptions of this 'Charles Mellerin' rose, its deep red color and strong damask fragrance clearly shine through 'Mister Lincoln.'
The 'Mister Lincoln' rose in this photo is one of the best performers in our southern garden. Sure, it gets its share of leaf spotting during times of high humidity, but it keeps right on blooming. The scent is amazing! It is one of my favorite flowers to savor outdoors and indoors, because it lasts a long time in a vase. You can see a close-up of it in the article titled Lessons from International Francophonie Week. It has a tendency to grow tall if you don't prune it regularly, but you can find the climbing version of it, too.
Additional French Connections
It is easy to see why the original breeder, Swim & Weeks, named this rose after the beloved President Abraham Lincoln of the mid-19th Century. It can still stand tall after enduring so much. Like the country he led, this rose comes from different nationalities, including France. The parents were named 'Chrysler Imperial' and the aforementioned 'Charles Mellerin.' While there is clearly one parent from a French breeder, let's not overlook that American-sounding 'Chrysler Imperial.' One parent of this rose is 'Charlotte Armstrong' whose family tree includes plenty of French names.
The 'Charlotte Armstrong' rose is prominent in rose breeding due to its easily-grown large flowers. One parent of this rose is the French 'Soeur Thérèse,' a yellow rose springing from a seed crossing of 'Général Jacqueminot' and 'Juliet' that was pollinated by 'Souvenir de Claudius Pernet.' If you are familiar with David Austin's English roses, then you may recognize the name 'Juliet' introduced in 1999. Instead, we are referring to the 'Juliet' introduced in 1906 by another grower in the United Kingdom named Walter Easlea, Jr., who utilized a lovely French rose named 'Soleil d'Or' when breeding his 'Juliet.'
The French ancestors of the 'Mister Lincoln' rose can be traced on the Help Me Find website, which is a fantastic resource for finding out all sorts of interesting information about your favorite roses! As a matter of fact, that was the website utilized to trace the French ancestors of the roses you will find in this series. You will find all kinds of helpful tips for growing roses, too, so be sure to check them out!