A central part of the Ornamental Rose Garden dates from 1910. An ornamental pool in the center acts as a mirror for the roses intentionally
planted close to the edge. In the back, is a trellised display consisting of a central gazebo, which is lavishly decorated with 'Alexandre Girault'. Over half of the plants of this variety are more than eighty years old. The scent of 'Alexandre Girault' is like pure seduction floating on air.
The use of the rose is very striking in the Formal Rose Garden. I wondered if the statue at the flocal point was of Aphrodite/Venus. Then I found out that it is a statue of La Baigneuse de Falconet.
'Alexandre Girault' is a Hybrid Wichurana with fine leaves and thorns. The flowers are China-like, with a hand painted silk effect like 'Comtesse du Cayla', but in darker hues. The rose is a brilliant shade of lilac-pink on opening, with a little yellow at the base of the petals.
With exposure to the sun, the colors become like watercolors, sheer and transparent with all shades of salmon and apricot glowing through. The individual flowers are small and demure, but are very provocative in masses. I think it is appropriate that the statue resembles Aphrodite/Venus because the rose has a haunting scent like apples, with a tincture of spice and rose.
The scent is lingering and ethereal, like a hint, but noticeably like apples...In the back of my mind I think of apples.....Apples are the ancient symbol of fertility. The golden apples of the Hesperides gave immortality: a prevalent idea in Indo-European mythologies. In mythology the golden apple was given to Aphodite by Paris in a
divine beauty contest, which led indirectly to the Trojan War.
Photographs ©2002 Norman S. Track from his book Joséphine's Eden