Home Gardening Francois Dubreuil: The Little Red Rose That Could

Francois Dubreuil: The Little Red Rose That Could

Francois Dubreuil: The Little Red Rose That Could

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Francois Dubreuil and I go way back, both having been transplanted from Seattle close to a decade ago.  As a rose, he is a mess, but under the caterpillar-munched leaves and feeble habit lives a fighter. He’s my rosebush counterpart to Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. The little guy never says die; he may succumb to black spot, acquiesce to powdery mildew, and have stems with the tensile strength of wet spaghetti, but he still manages to bloom in a celebratory manner each spring. And what he lacks in vigor he makes up for in heady perfume. This seemingly diminutive rose packs a serious punch of fragrant bravado.

A tea rose first bred in 1894, Francois is not particularly fond of the Pacific Northwest’s cool temperatures, so I keep him potted. And besides, that way I can carry him  around like a garden pet, and plant my snchnoz into a nosegay of sweet smelling petals when gassy bulldogs are under foot (which is more times than not). Hopefully, Francois will do better this growing season, but if not, I’m happy that he and the sweet air about him continue to prevail.

More info about this fragrant rose that prefers warmer climes:

  • Dave’s garden, Francois Dubreuil rose page: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/67047/
  • Francois Dubreuil, the man behind the rose: http://www.meilland.com/en/meilland_about-us_look-on-the-past.html



  1. God, I’ve grown this rose twice. Loved it and hated it. Amazing fragrance and color..except when browned/crispted in the afternoon sun. Mildew and black spot too. It’s a hard rose for seattle. Wonderful when wonderful, though.

  2. never heard of this guy but he is beautiful~~~have you ever tried the rose we grow here in Lebanon and Syria the ROSA Damascena? and make rose water out of it it is real fragrant but with a lot of thorns

  3. Tom – The name of your rose sounded so familiar that I had to consult my bookshelves until I found my copy of “For Love of a Rose” by Antonia Ridge. A major character in the story is Francois Dubeuil. His daughter married Antoine Meilland, who bred roses in the south of France and raised the rose which is now known as “Peace”. Meilland was also involved in the patenting of roses. The Meilland rose growing group still exists and Meilland roses are available in the US. Antonia Ridge also wrote “The Man Who Painted Roses” about Pierre-Joseph Redoute, and a sweet story called “Family Album” a story about a retiring English woman who visits the south of France and ends up staying there.

    Hoping you and the dogs are doing well!

  4. Dang Margaret, I love that you know that. I will now seek that book. There was a real romance in the science of breeding new roses in the mid to late 19th century. It was a time when fragrance reigned supreme in garden roses, something as equally important as the beauty of the flower.

    Thanks for the info, and all the great comments. B&G are snoozin’ on the porch, but nodded hello. 😉

  5. … such a pretty little thing – and worth waiting for if it has such a lovely perfume…
    Happy Memorial Day Tom, I suspect this one will be quite difficult for you and your family.
    Thinking of you.

  6. What a beauty! He is a good friend who always
    puts forth his very beautiful ‘best’ for you every
    year even if all his energy is used in the making of
    one spectacular gorgeous rose perfume included!!
    May I suggest…. That he be potted-up one size.
    After the rose is spent of course. 😉

  7. I’ve checked Powell’s – no copies of “For Love of a Rose” are available. Amazon shows some copies for sale from $ .22 to $85.00! The Vashon Island library should be able to borrow a copy for you through interlibrary loan.

    I could loan you my copy – we’re almost next door neighbors, you know!


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