The Gallica Roses are one of the oldest garden rose varieties, with R.gallica 'Officinalis' being the oldest known. Also known as the 'Apothecary's Rose' it is still in cultivation and was in fact the 'Red Rose of Lancaster'.
Another very old variety is R.gallica 'Versicolor' also sold as R.mundi, supposedly named after Rosamund Clifford, the mistress of Heny 11 'Fair Rosemund'. Henry was forced to mary Eleanor of Aquitane who had previosly been married to Louis VII of France, many old roses have stories attached
Best Gallica Roses
Some of the best Gallica roses include :
- Gloire de France - Masses of double flowers with slightly darker centres
- Charles de Mills - Large purple flowers and excellent in cooler climates, not so good in warmer areas.
- Belle Isis - Clean pale pink, double and quartered flowers
- Ypsilanti - Also sold as Ipsilante, very fragrant, late flowering mid pink large doubled flowers
- Sissinghurst Castle - another old variety, deep velvety red flowers
- Duchess de Montebello -Pale pink with strong fragrance - Pictured Top.
- R. gallica violacea. 'La Belle Sultane' - Wonderful rich velvet purple flowers, classed as a single however it has a few more petals than most singles. Contrasting yellow stamens on these good sized flowers, supposedly one of the roses in Empress Joshephines garden.
- L'Enchanteresse - Wonderful fragrance white to blush pink fully double flowers.
- Tricolore de Flandre - semi double white flowers striped with crimson and lilac.
Pruning Gallica Roses
As they tend to sucker, if they are grown on their own roots pruning gallicas can look a little daunting. You are faced with a mass of stems.
- Be methodical,
- Start by removing1/3 of the oldest canes.
- Prune back the years flowering stems to lower latterals
The modern hybrid gallicas are often grafted onto non - suckering rootstock. So pruning becomes much easier.