Our large Madame Alfred Carrière rose is at least 15 years old and may be approaching 20. It is a truly beautiful rose with large white flowers with a blush of pink and a sweet delicious fragrance. It is a repeat flowering rose starting in June with a tremendous flush of flowers and continuing throughout the summer until October if the weather is kind.
Popular since Victorian times, Madame Alfred Carrière is a rose from the Noisette group which have virtually thornless stems and fragrant double flowers. It seems to be very healthy and copes very well with its exposed location with virtually no protection from south-westerly winds.
Originally we planted this rose to climb up a pink cherry tree and provide a continuity of flowers after the spring cherry blossom had faded. The cherry tree is alas long gone having died and rotted away. We so love the Madame Alfred Carrière that we really wanted to find a way of allowing it to continue even though its support had gone.
The rose now grows up within a metal frame and its long arching branches cascade from the top. However, this climber certainly grows strongly each year and the metal tubular frame is really not man enough for the job. To help provide greater strength we have placed a large chestnut stake in the centre to give it greater strength and depth into the soil.
When in full leaf the structure has to carry a huge weight and the winds in late October have taken their toll.
Left to its own devices I think it would not have lasted the winter in this exposed part of the garden. Drastic action therefore had to be taken to release the weight of the top foliage and straighten up the metal frame.
It doesn’t look pretty I admit but this severe pruning is really the only way to give it a chance over winter. From experience it is a really tough plant and has bounced back in previous years. Next spring new fresh shoots will emerge and in no time it will be growing strongly again with bright green, clean foliage.
Madame Alfred Carrière is a wonderful garden rose and a much admired treasure in the here at Waverley. We don’t find it a useful cut flower because it drops its petals too quickly and has flimsy stems but it would make good petal confetti.