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Avatar for spacegirl
May 16, 2019 7:54 PM CST
Thread OP
Mt Sterling, Kentucky, USA
I am looking to buy the original La Biche rose, not the American version,'
Mme de Someriul. I believe the La Biche was planted on my family farm in Ky in the 1800's. Can anyone direct me to a supplier? Thank you.
May 16, 2019 10:52 PM CST
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
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I checked on HelpMeFind it's an old one, before 1932, from France. I clicked the Buy from tab, they have one nursery, Angel Gardens, listed as a mail order one. You can click on the 'View All Nurseries Selling This Rose', one more in Fl, the rest in Europe.
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May 17, 2019 1:51 PM CST
Zone 9, Sunset Zone 9 (Zone 9b)
Spacegirl, I don't see that they have that rose available for sale at the moment. However, give them a call. They could tell you if it is in production or not or if they only have a couple for sale and therefore it is not listed. Good luck and I hope you find your rose.
May 17, 2019 7:06 PM CST
Name: Christopher
New Brunswick, NJ, USA (Zone 7a)
Here's the thing -- an unlabeled rose was discovered in the US (in California, I think), initially matched to the identification of 'La Biche', and sold as such for a while. Later, Gregg Lowery visited some public European rose garden (I can't remember which), saw a labeled plant of 'Mlle de Sombreuil', and concluded that that rose matched what was previously identified as 'La Biche' in the US. Then came some controversy -- apparently, the rose he saw may not have been labeled correctly, may not match another rose with that label at some other public European rose garden, and his conclusion was based on recollection rather than any direct comparison.

So, was Gregg correct? Was that other rose labeled correctly? The jury is out, though most people HERE in the US accept the rose formerly sold as 'La Biche' under the name 'Mlle de Sombreuil'. Regardless, all the plants offered in the US under either name are the same rose, all propagated from that original unnamed foundling. You may find a nursery listing 'La Biche' rather than 'Mlle de Sombreuil', but it'd be the same rose that another nursery has listed the other way around.

To add to the confusion, you may also find a rose labeled "George Washington Richardson" (perhaps with the prefix "Legacy of..."). Roses with double-quotes are foundlings with "found" names given to them. Well, it was later concluded by DNA testing that "George Washington Richardson" is identical to the rose previously identified as 'La Biche', and later re-named 'Mlle de Sombreuil'. So the same rose would be offered under all three names, though those given the "George Washington Richardson" name would have originated from propagation material from that specific plant. This wouldn't make much of a difference in the garden, unless of course one of the original roses had mosaic virus and the other didn't. But I don't know if that's even the case with this rose.


Avatar for spacegirl
May 17, 2019 9:07 PM CST
Thread OP
Mt Sterling, Kentucky, USA
Thanks for all the responses. The rose on my farm was planted by my gggrandfather for his dying wife. It survived through a house fire & many people neglecting it. When I came to the farm it had been moved to the shade & was in bad shape, not blooming. I moved it to sunny location & it bloomed one year & died the next. Not sure what of. The blooms I saw were medium size creamy white. You could not see the pale wash of soft pink, in the center, until you were close. The wash did not extend to the end of the petal. It had a slight, sweet fragrance. There were not many thorns. Quiet a few canes were coming out the base. the canes were tall & there were not many roses on a cane. The foliage was not dark. I have never grown roses & felt like I killed this special rose. I did research on white roses. I think the 'Mlle de Sombreuil' is close but not quite the same. It has too many petals & they are too curly. The name of my farm is the White Rose. I wanted to try to replace the original but it may not be possible. Thanks again.
May 21, 2019 5:29 PM CST
Coastal Southern California (Zone 13a)
Generally speaking, the real 'La Biche' is thought to be extinct.

We have now identified a second plant of the rose discovered in Santa Rosa. A genetic match. With a family history which seems to tie the two plants together. See "George Washington Richardson":
Thumb of 2019-05-21/jerijen/003028

Since the rose we now know as 'Mlle. de Sombreuil' was matched to one in France (and is virus-free) we feel pretty sure about that ID.

Since the original 'La Biche' was a Noisette, I'm not sure why folks at the Huntington thought 'Mlle. de Sombreuil' was that. But I have long wondered if in fact "Manchester Guardian Angel" might not be.
Last edited by Calif_Sue May 21, 2019 6:44 PM Icon for preview
Avatar for scvirginia
May 22, 2019 6:38 PM CST
Name: Virginia

FWIW, here is a somewhat stylized illustration of 'La Biche' from an 1873 book called 'Les Roses' by Eugène Forney and Hippolyte Jamain:

It looks enough like 'Mlle Sombreuil' that I can see how they could have gotten confused somewhere down the line.

Apparently, it was sometimes sold as 'Lamarque' as early as the 1840's. I think there are still (at least) a couple of roses sold as 'Lamarque' these days; perhaps your rose was one of them? Do you recognize your grandparents' rose in the photos of 'Lamarque'?

Aside from "Manchester Guardian Angel", another mystery rose that resembles 'Lamarque' is the Bermuda Mystery Rose, "Brightside Cream":

If you want a white rose for your farm- and of course, you do- perhaps you could eyeball some photos to see if anything looks familiar. Or just choose a good white rose that you like, that will be hardy in Kentucky. As Shakespeare once wrote:
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet..."

Good luck and Welcome! ,
May 23, 2019 10:55 AM CST
Coastal Southern California (Zone 13a)
I'm with Virginia. There are so many wonderful white roses . . . I love:

'Gloire Lyonnaise'

'Snowbird' (which we collected as "Louise Avenue"

and the Found Tea Rose: "Jesse Hildreth"
Thumb of 2019-05-23/jerijen/c87047

And of course, the "imposter" -- 'Sombreuil, Cl.'
Thumb of 2019-05-23/jerijen/bd9445

And so many others . . .
Avatar for spacegirl
May 24, 2019 9:54 PM CST
Thread OP
Mt Sterling, Kentucky, USA
Thank you for all the replies. What a wonderful group. The rose on my farm had no big yellow center. Just the light wash of pink. It was not "frilly". Not a lot of petals. Sorry, don't know all the rose terms. I have communicated with La Roseaire du Desert in France. They say they have the real La Biche which has been sent to the US. I'm on a waiting list when available. When I started my hunt I didn't think I could find a match & La Biche may not be it. I have found some beautiful roses, however, & I'll be happy to find a close match. Also I'm developing a sudden desire to have a rose garden!
May 25, 2019 4:03 PM CST
Coastal Southern California (Zone 13a)
A man I knew, who grew up in Mexico, told the story of a rose he knew as a boy, which was treasured by many, where he lived. Everyone called it "La Dama Blanca".

Many years later, now living in California, and practicing dentistry, he wished to grow the rose of his childhood, and began to search for it.

He bought one white rose after another, and while they were all lovely, none of them was "La Dama Blanca."

Several years (and many white roses) later, he found his "Lady". She is properly named 'Frau Karl Druschki'.

So, I hope you find your rose, but I also hope you have a wonderful and fulfilling time along the way.
Avatar for KSPNW8
May 25, 2019 8:23 PM CST

Have you looked at Madame Joseph Schwartz? Let me add Devoniensis to Jeri's fabulous list of white roses above. Virginia is definitely responsible for the fact that I have this rose (Hi Virginia! The other-forum-that-shall-not-be-named misses you!) It is extremely beautiful. One white rose is never enough...
Thumb of 2019-05-26/KSPNW8/e7a479
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