Madame Alfred Carriere is enjoying herself, this year


Now I have a north-west facing garden and roses are not supposed to fare well when the sun skids around the plot so quickly, leaving much in shadow and much else, with just a couple of hours to make do. The Noisette climbing rose, Madame Alfred Carriere, is reputed to be one of those roses that puts on a good show in these less-than-ideal conditions. In a shady spot.


My example has been planted out for almost a decade and this year, is flowering at her best – on my side of the fence too (my neighbour is usually guaranteed a good show, being on the sunnier side). I suspect the vast amount of rain that sent the bamboos into overdrive last year has helped out the rose too (and there is much competition from an enormous Horse Chestnut just ten metres away).


Perhaps my lacklustre attempt at pruning (very little) was just what she needed. The plant is full of the most deliciously scented white-with- a- hint- of- blush/sea- shell, beautifully informal (untidy?loose?) flowers.

No hint of mildew on the mid-green, matte leaves either (yet) – ample water I suspect.

Peter Beales in his stunningly good book Classic Roses, puts in his Key to Letters and Symbols, the letter ‘N’

N – Suitable for northerly aspect.

He goes on..

‘N.B.: Roses only tolerate such a situation, they don’t necessarily enjoy it.’ (I quote this a lot)

This year Mrs Carriere is liking it quite a lot.

Peter Beales’ entry in Classic Rose for Madame Alfred Carriere is, for completeness:

J Schwartz France 1879

A superior rose. The lovely, rather loosely formed flowers are large and white with occasional hints of soft pink, highly scented. Growth is vigorous, with sparse thorns. Leaves large, plentiful and light green. This rose flowers almost continuously throughout the season and is quite tolerant of a north wall situation.

Tolerant of poor soils; can be forced or greenhouse grown; suitable for growing into trees; good for cutting.

15′ x 10′ / 4.5m x 3m


Madame Alfred seems to be having a good time this year at least.

I should add, for the sake of balance, that there are other climbing roses with an ability to flower in less than ideal conditions. The Fragrant English Climbers might be considered, part of the David Austin catalogue, and if given 4 or 5 hours of good sun, should perform very well.

New Dawn, with glossy leaves and small rosebud, pink fading to flesh tones flowers is often in the lists. Golden Showers is a tough rather upright climber, coping well with rain and a shadier spot. Many of the ramblers are fine both in poor light and poor soils, though the latter should be improved as much as possible. Wild roses and species roses have candidates too.

Madame Alfred Carriere

Or there’s many a honeysuckle (and many clematis, and ivy, and climbing hydrangea, and akebia and evergreen jasmine and ampelopsis and schizophragma….)

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