Zephirine Drouhin

One of my favorite roses and one of the best garden roses for here in Arizona is the old-fashioned Bourbon climbing rose Zephirine Drouhin (Rosa 'Zephirine Drouhin').

Zephirine Drouhin rose

Zephirine Drouhin roses don't seem to be seriously bothered by either pests or diseases in our often harsh Arizona climate, but like other roses, they will sometimes show iron chlorosis in our alkaline soil and need iron chelate treatment. While they tolerate partial shade, Zephirine Drouhin roses don't like full shade, as I learned this year when fast-growing mesquite trees began to heavily shade my roses, stunting their growth and drastically reducing their bloom.

Shaded Zephirine Drouhin rose with some iron chlorosis

These adaptable roses also do quite well in containers, and I had one Zephirine Drouhin growing happily in a large clay pot on my patio for many years. They can eventually grow up to about 12 feet (3.7 m) tall, but those in containers won't grow quite as large. Those in my Tucson yard seem to remain at about 6 feet (1.8 m) tall.

Zephirine Drouhin roses are generally thornless and have pink, semi-double flowers with the wonderful classic Damask rose fragrance that has been unfortunately bred out of so many modern roses. I'm always a bit disgusted when I bend down to smell a big beautiful rose only to discover that it has no scent. Unlike these scentless impostors, Zephirine Drouhin roses actually smell like roses.

I couldn't find Zephirine Drouhin roses at my local plant nurseries, so I got mine from a mail order rose catalog, which is where many of the more interesting and rare rose varieties can be found. If you are looking for this rose online, the name is also variably spelled as Zephyrine Drouhin or Zéphirine Drouhin in some online rose catalogs.

Along with Zephirine Drouhin, another climbing rose that does quite well here in Arizona is the Lady Banks Rose or Tombstone Rose (Rosa banksiae), but it is only faintly fragrant and has a short blooming period, unlike the repeat blooming Zephirine Drouhin.