‘Sombreuil’, sold in Europe as ‘Mlle de Sombreuil’, dates back to 1850. It is sometimes found as ‘Colonial White’ as well. Legend has it that it was named after a heroine of the French Revolution who is reputed to have drunk the blood of an aristocrat to prove her father’s non-aristocratic status. (Wonder why they didn’t name a red flower after her?) The flower is a lovely white with perhaps an occasional touch of rose and/or yellow. It’s a flat flower, quartered, and very double blooms, which are also scented. It is classed as a tea/climber in some books, but Vintage Gardens and Phillip Robinson have it listed as a twentieth century climber descended from R. wichuraiana. Although my books say it’s a moderate size, mine is up in an apricot tree and along a fence. It is a very hardy rose, and blooms repeatedly all summer.
By Barbara Picarelli, Consulting Rosarian Emeritus
Edited for the website by N Londeree, March 2020