I might never take a picture that properly captures the blooms of this rose. I could blame that on my lack of photography skills, but I also have an excuse: ‘Sophie’s Perpetual’ has an unusual kind of translucence to its blooms. The petals are often much darker pink towards the edges. So go ahead and search the internet for better pictures. I’ve included two here. The first is of an early season cutting, eager to bloom right away. The other is 8 months later, and might even be the same plant, blooming into late October. That should say something about how free-blooming ‘Sophie’s Perpetual’ is.
This rose is classed as a China rose, but because it has a powerful fragrance that seems more like a European rose, some have called it a Bourbon rose, like the early China/Damask crosses. When dealing with a rose that is discovered in an old garden, rosarians just have to guess at the lineage/identity of the rose. This one was discovered in the garden of Sophie, Countess Benckendorff, thus the name ‘Sophie’s Perpetual’.
Whatever mystery there is about the origins of ‘Sophie’s’, I have no wonder about how this rose has earned a place in gardens since its discovery. Remarkable blooms with remarkable scent, healthy appearance, good vigor, and just overall charm. The shrub grows to only 3 feet or so, which makes it a nice addition even to a smaller garden bed. I myself seem to include Sophie as one of my first choices whenever I begin a new project. And why not? She attracts a lot of attention, and requires very little fussing. Besides, I just like to say “Benkendorff” when people say “Sophie who?”.
I sell this one in 1 gallon pots for $10 and 2 gallon for $20.