Much of Floramont has been devoted to the beauty of French horticulture and roses, so it was a lovely surprise to find out the 'Eternal Flame' rose is of French origin!
The 'Eternal Flame' was bred by Alain Meilland from the renowned French rose growing family featured in this journal a few years ago in the Roses of France article. When that article was written, the 'Eternal Flame' rose was already photographed for this journal's very first article, and then it was featured again for the article about Floramont's namesake: Florimonde Rableau, Fille du Roi. It is one of my favorite roses for so many reasons, hence the pleasant surprise of discovering its French origins.
Why do I love this French rose? First of all, it survived the heat and humidity of the southern United States longer than some of its grafted peers. Secondly, there were numerous variations of blooms. While some people may prefer uniformity of blooms, I enjoyed seeing the new types of flowers on the same shrub. Sometimes, the petals cheerfully opened wide to reveal the cheerful reddish center, while others stayed closed at the plump base with rather coy furled edges. One flower sported three crowns within one bloom, as seen in the previously mentioned article about Florimonde Rableau. That particular one eventually grew into a large and luscious flower. Some blooms are shy while others almost seem extroverted. I am sure there are rosarians who would lecture me about the conditions leading to these different blooms, along with everything I was doing wrong, but I certainly enjoyed the surprises.
Finally, this rose has a delightful citrus tea scent that reminds me of my first gardening companion, Jake. He was an incredible dog, and I will never forget the first day I brought him home from the animal shelter. While I was tending to the garden, he literally brought over my garden tool bag, which was on the other side of the yard. I don't remember any time when he dug holes in the garden. He seemed to instinctively know that it was wrong. Thanks to the rose garden, I found out he had a cast-iron stomach like other mixed-breed dogs. When I stepped outside to water the garden, I walked back into the house, only to discover an empty pizza pan on the floor. He may not have had an instinct for house behavior, but he knew the value of a rose. Anyway, the scent of this rose makes me think of him. Is it a coincidence that I hold an 'Eternal Flame' for Jake? Who knows? I just know that this rose has an impact on my heart, and discovering its French origin is the icing on the cake!