Alba Maxima or Great Double White,
(Rosa Alba Maxima)
Sometimes, just sometimes, something appears when you need it most. I really needed my Albas this week, and there they were, dishing out their texture and color and sublime fragrance all over the place.
This one smells incredible, and I wish I could describe it properly and share its perfume with you. It has also been known as the White Rose of York or Jacobite Rose, and it's an almost archetypal rose that has been around for centuries - the Albas may be much older than even the Roman Empire. Rose scholars think that the white rose of which Pliny the Elder wrote so eloquently may have been this one - the man had impeccable taste.
Sir Graham Thomas thought that the early Albas were the offspring of a marriage between the dog rose (Rosa canina) and the fabled Damask rose (Rosa damascena), itself an ancient Middle Eastern cross of the Gallic rose (Rosa gallica) with the Musk Rose (Rosa moschata) thought to originate in the western Himalayas. Characteristics of all four possible ancestors are as apparent in this bloom as they are in its lovely cousin, Alba Semiplena.
I have always loved the fact that at least one of my rose's magnificent and exotic ancestors is native to the most magnificent mountain range on earth. I am (of course) sharing the blooming with my sister Barbara.