The beautiful Damask rose, Mme Hardy, introduced in 1832, making this an outstanding old girl.
Peter Beales in his excellent reference ‘Classic Roses,’ writes
An elegant and sumptuous rose which can hold its own against any in the shrubbery. Flowers pure white, full double and quite large considering the number it produces. Centre petals are folded inwards exposing a rich green eye. Strongly scented. Growth, although strong and vigorous,is accommodating. Foliage bright, almost lime green, especially when young. An outstanding old cultivar.
Summer flowering, (seldom if ever, remontant), tolerant of poor soils, suitable for hedging, tolerant of shade, very fragrant, 1.5m x 1.5m
Reading on, in the rather fun ‘A Rose by Any Name; The little-known lore and deep-rooted history of rose names (Brenner/Scanniello)’
Among the multitude of spouses, no namesake supersedes ‘Madame Hardy’. This damask seedling first flowered for its creator, Madame’s husband, Julien Alexandre Hardy, in 1831. One hundred and sixty years later, the World Federation of Rose Societies voted it one of the top ten varieties of all time. As head gardener at the Jardins des Luxembourg in Paris, Julien Hardy raised thousands of cultivars and took pleasure in sharing them. He never sold his plants, gladly trading them with fellow rose fanciers. “M. Hardy is very courteous to foreigners,” the English nurseryman William Paul commented in 1848, prudently adding “It is necessary to visit him early in the morning during the rose season”. Unfortunately, with ‘Madame Hardy’ as with many roses named after nineteenth-century wives, we know a great deal about the flower and the man who bred it but precious little about the woman behind the rose that he himself called ‘Félicité Hardy’.
Quite Interestingly, Félicité has a second claim in the rose world, another rose (an alba), named for her – Félicité Parmentier (her maiden name). I think she might be the only woman to have two roses named for her? Quite a thing.