The Belle of Portugal gives us one shot of glory but what a heady shot it is. For 6 weeks to nearly 2 months
starting in the middle of March there is a fragrance in the air. And more
bloom than can be believed in both size, fragrance, and number of blossoms. This is
the most enthusiastic rose that I have grown. It promptly leapt out with new canes to
15 feet in its first season. One of its parents is Rosa gigantea and it is
worthy of its heritage. It needs a strong support. I learned this the hard
way, with no small amount of bloodletting, when 2 stories worth of rose collapsed on
me while I was pruning it. I had to carve my way out from underneath. The tips
of the branches must be allowed to stay on the shrub for there to be any flowers as they
grow at the tips of the previous years growth. Strategically this is a conundrum.
I just beat it back as it invariably invades my space. There is still lots of
rose above head height.
The Belle of Portugal Rose was hybridized by Cayeux in 1900 in a cross between Rosa gigantea and
'Reine Marie Henriette'
High resolution images
of the Belle of Portugal rose are available.