"Belle Amour" rose References
Magazine (2016) Page(s) 57. Vol 38, No. 3.
Patricia Routley. "Belle Amour". Europe’s early garden roses were the gallicas, damasks and albas. The damask and albas have gallica in their genes but as the albas did not go on to breed, I think there is not very much alba at all in the rose in question. The large and ancient Alba roses of England normally have blue-ish leaves, but "Belle Amour", said to be an Alba rose, has green foliage. Alba roses come in delicate shades of pinks and white, but this one has a salmon tint in its pink – a shade which is not usually found in old roses. "Belle Amour" is a different rose and seems to me on first sight, to be more of a modern hybrid than an ancient alba. We don’t really know where it came from, for Nancy Lindsay said she found it in 1940 at a convent in Elboeuf in Normandy in northern France. (I sometimes wonder if this could have been the Ursuline Convent there and I am quite sure it would still be growing wherever she found it). Graham Thomas also found it growing in Norfolk in 1959.
Although it is usually classed with the Alba’s it seems to have strong traits from other roses. The salmon-pink flowers occur in spring only, in clusters at the tips of canes or laterals. They open wide to show stamens and have a strong scent and I bring a bloom to my nose again and again. The pedicels are glandular. The sea-green leaves are long and oval. Under the prickly midribs are long pilose hairs. An alba leaf edge is rarely glandular, but "Belle Amour" does have glands there. Leaf edges seem to be serrate, but I don’t really know how to tell bi-serrate and serrate edges. The leaf rachis is glandular and the narrow stipule in mid winter seemed to be most similar to Krussman’s sample C (parallel, auricles facing forward). The prickly canes are long and arching, reminiscent of an alba or damask. The smooth hips are the most puzzling trait – they measure about 15mm across, are light orange and gallica-round. They are certainly not the bristly oval alba hips or the long tapering, elliptical hips of a damask.
There were only two old roses with the same salmon tint (dawn coloured someone has cleverly called it), "Belle Amour", and 'Belle Isis' c1845, a light-green leaved gallica apparently with the aniseed or myrrh scent. Nancy Steen in New Zealand saw the likeness in the colouring and planted "Belle Amour" with the low-growing ‘Belle Isis’ at its feet. ‘Belle Isis’ was said to be one of the parents of David Austin’s English roses tribe but someone has mentioned to me that the perfume of "Belle Amour" is much closer to that of David Austin’s first rose 'Constance Spry', than it is to 'Belle Isis'. Unfortunately I do not have ‘Belle Isis’ but I am left wondering if there was confusion between the two Belles right at the start of the English eruption of Austin roses.
I gathered in a cutting of "Belle Amour" from a Heritage Roses in Australia cutting day at Del Bibby’s home in 2003 and it has grown well, suckering slowly to form a reasonable clump. I’ve just taken a sucker and planted another elsewhere, this time taking a small precaution of lining the hole with plastic sheeting, but it will no doubt wriggle out of its enclosure in time. There are dim mists veiling this rose’s true identity. I can’t wait for spring to take a "Belle Amour" in my left hand’ and a ‘Constance Spry’ in my right and start sniffing.
Magazine (2015) Page(s) 12. Vol 37, No. 1.
Steve Beck: I particularly love..... the exquisite myrrh fragrances of 'Belle Isis' and Belle Amour....
Book (2006) Page(s) 23. Includes photo(s).
Belle Amour A. No rebloom. Outstanding fragrance. Habit diagram 2. unknown, re-intro 1940. [Provenance Huntington]. A very warm pink rose with large-petalled flowers of rich, spicy scent. Not typical for an Alba but showing many affinities to the class, including luxurious foliage. A very special rose and a graceful addition to the garden.
Newsletter (2005) Page(s) 29. Vol 26, No. 3.
Editor. ....In addition to the Damask roses 'Rose d'Hiver', 'Gloire de Guilan' and 'Ispahan' brought back from Iran, Nancy discovered a further Damask rose in a convent in Elboeuf, Normandy in 1940. Named Belle Amour, this is an unusually coloured salmony-pink Damask rose with a scent of myrrh.
Book (2003) Page(s) 55. Includes photo(s).
Belle Amour Gallica hybrid. No one knows the origins of 'Belle Amour'; it has been variously classed as an Alba and a Damask. However, it seems best to call it a Gallica hybrid and to enjoy its unique qualities.....mid-green leaves.
Book (2002) Page(s) 24.
Book (2000) Page(s) 47. Includes photo(s).
Belle Amour Raiser and parentage unknown. Introduced 1940. Type Alba. Size 1.5m x 1.5m. Although there is considerable doubt about the origin of this rose, it is no less a beautiful variety. Most people know that many roses were grown from seed in the fields of France in the early part of the nineteenth century, and this may be one of them. It has large blooms up to 10cm or more across, which are semi-double and cupped, and of an attractive pink with shades of salmon at times. They have a delicious fragrance and look very well among the grey-green foliage.
Magazine (2000) Page(s) No. 19. Includes photo(s).
p2. Robert Calkin. The Myrrh Fragrance in Roses.
....It is also characteristic of such delightfully scented old roses as the Ayrshire 'Splendens' (the Myrrh-scented rose) and the Alba hybrid Belle Amour
p3. ....the myrrh fragrance also occurs in Belle Amour, a rediscovered rose classsified sometimes as an Alba and sometimes as a damask. Graham Stuart Thomas suggests also the influence of 'Splendens', not only because of the fragrance but because of its similarity in colour, with its hint of salmon almost unique among old roses. Almost the same colour, though not the fragrance, occurs in the gallica 'Belle Isis', from which many of David Austin's English roses are descended. Many of these have a myrrh fragrance. Whether the myrrh fragrance is in every case descended from the original Ayrshire roses or whether it has appeared spontaneously on a number of separate occasions is a matter of speculation. Within the English roses, however, there is no doubt of its descent from 'Constance Spry', the first of such roses, and which resulted from a cross between 'Belle Isis' and 'Dainty Maid'.
p34 Photo Belle Amour
Book (2000) Page(s) 108. Includes photo(s).
‘Belle Amour’ = Alba... arbuste ample et épineux… feuillage vert franc fortement denté et rude au toucher. En début d’été, il croule sous ses bouquets de fleurs en coupe, semi-doubles, rose carné effleuré de saumon, avec ici et là un pétale décoloré. Son parfum piquant et épicé évoque un peu la myrrhe… fruits ovoïdes orangés. Aisé à cultiver, y compris en sol très pauvre, il a été découvert en 1940 par l’Anglaise Nancy Lindsay dans un couvent d’Elbeuf, en Normandie. Peter Beales le rangeait parmi les Damas. Rosa alba x Rosa damascena.
Book (2000) Page(s) 20.
Belle Amour. Alba. No rebloom. Outstanding fragrance. Unknown, re-intro 1940. [Provenance: Huntington]. A very warm pink rose with large-petalled flowers of rich spicy scent. Not typical for an Alba but showing many affinities to the class, including luxurious foliage. A very special rose and a graceful addition to the garden.