Dame de Coeur rose is an old Hybrid Tea often called ‘The Black Rose’. Dame de Coeur bears dark smoldering red roses fully 6″ wide, and the flowers darken with age in the rose garden to a very dark red. You can see the black overtones on the rose petals in the photographs.
Dame de Coer is french for ‘queen of hearts’.
I generally give Hybrid Tea roses a hard time with regards to their feasibility in the garden, but when they are great they are sublime. Even if our ideal is the romance of the dark red rose, such roses are quite rare in the garden. There are however plenty of dark pink magenta roses out there masquerading as red.
If your ideal is a dark red rose for your garden, then Dame de Coeur may be the one. Dame de Coeur has good substance and makes an excellent cut flower. Dame de Coeur has a reputation for good disease resistance in the garden and the vitality to withstand hot and humid summers. The first time I saw Dame de Coeur it was easily the healthiest shrub in a garden full of old roses, although I did not inquire about the spray program.
Dame de Coeur was introduced in 1958 and is a cross between the legendary garden rose ‘Peace’ and ‘Independence’.
Over half a century later Dame de Coeur is still widely grown in rose gardens worldwide. Standing the test of time is important in the rose gardening universe. Thousands of rose cultivars have been introduced to gardeners in the last century.
Dame de Coeur is hardy zones 6-9. The blooms stand up to direct heat very well. Another beautiful red, Francis Dubreuil has a reputation for crisping in the direct afternoon sun. There is disagreement regarding fragrance with gardeners’ reports running the spectrum from ‘intense fragrance’ to ‘non-fragrant’. I find the fragrance to be very good.
Variables such as climate, geographic location, and even time of day with regards to fragrance render anecdotal reports often unreliable when it comes to how a rose will fair in your garden. Ideally, you will have the opportunity to consult with gardeners in your own region, either in person or on a rose forum you trust.
Many of the yellow roses of the past century have been the worst offenders when it comes to blackspot. The region where the parents of many modern yellow roses originate was heavily polluted when the original stock was first bred and tested. The pollution kept blackspot from appearing on the original stock. These first yellow roses were heralded as being blackspot resistant until gardeners started growing them in areas without pollution.
I have learned to be suspicious of almost anything written about garden roses, including Dame de Coeur, especially with regards to disease resistance and fragrance.
Typical of rose reports regarding disease, almost every rose supplier touts Dame de Coeur as having excellent disease resistance. When you find a nursery that sells garden roses that haven’t been in a heavy spray rotation then you can trust them.
I do not mean to turn an overview of a rose as beautiful as Dame de Coeur into a cautionary tale. If you like a rose, grow it and see how it goes. I consider every rose I plant, with the exception of the exceptional New Dawn, an experiment.
While blackspot and rust do not seem to be terrible problems with this cultivar, Dame de Coeur has a reputation for being susceptible to mildew. If you live in an area where roses are prone to mildew, consider yourself forewarned. Still, the flowers are breathtaking.