‘La France’ the modern large-flowered Hybrid Tea

I love the history and story behind roses and last fall when I was building my collection of roses to anchor my new garden, I was really lucky to get ‘La France’ on fortuniana rootstock. (I have written about the various rootstocks for the July August American Rose Beginners column). I have heard that fortuniana rootstock is marginal in the Pacific Northwest and last winter was mild by all accounts (low of 26 degrees in my garden) and I am pleased with this plant and it’s early progress. ‘La France’ was the first Hybrid Tea because it was a cross between a Hybrid Perpetual and a Tea rose. My evaluation is that it lives up to all of its faults (weak neck which cause the bloom to face downward) and all of its positive aspects (it repeat blooms and opens beautifully and has a strong fragrance). I also understand that this flower does best in dry climates, which is not where I have it growing, but I like the historical significance. Now I just need some sunshine and warm weather to get more blooms to open.

The first Hybrid Tea rose. 1867 Guillot fils.