Heritage rose - 'Ghislaine de Feligonde'

Rosa multiflora, Eugène Turbat, France, 1916.

Origin: variety from 'Goldfinch', G. Paul (UK) 1907.

'Ghislaine de Feligonde', Eugène Turbat, France, 1916


A large, vigorous shrub that is fairly flexible. Measuring 2.5 m x 2 m, it can reach 4m if palisaded. It does very well in light shade.
The stems have a smooth, light green, with almost no prickles. Those that flower are covered with fine purple bristles.

The flowers are medium sized (4cm), double. They form large and airy clusters of 15-30 flowers.
The rose is reblooming, which is rare for a Multiflora hybrid. There are two good blooms in spring and autumn and a few waves in between.

The colours range from bright orange for the buds, to apricot, soft yellow and then cream for the flowers, especially if the rose is in light shade. In cooler weather, they take on shades of pink.

It is dense and healthy, with an attractive, shiny green colour. The petioles under the leaves have small prickles.

Soft and sweet scent characteristic of Multiflora.

Easy to grow, it can be used as a shrub or a small climber.
Hardy and very resistant to disease, it can grow in any type of soil, even poor ones. It can thrive in the shade and in a northern exposure.
This vigorous but supple and graceful rose has a lot of charm, it will find its place in all gardens and can also be grown in containers.

Its name, its history:

There is a legend about the person to whom this rose was dedicated. You will find below the historical reality, in agreement with the descendants of Mrs Ghislaine de Féligonde.

It should be noted that Fabien Ducher, breeder, isolated a sport of this rose: 'Pink Ghislaine de Féligonde' in 2007, of a lovely fresh pink. It is a powerful, very supple rose, well suited to being trained on pergolas and almost continuously blooming.


The association Roses Anciennes en France was contacted by the association for the safeguarding of the heritage of St Martin d'Uriage (Isère) while preparing a book about the local castle, former property of Mrs Ghislaine de Féligonde. The question is the following:

By whom and why was a rose named after a two-year-old girl?

In 1916:
  • Ghislaine de Féligonde is 2 years old. She was the daughter of Count Charles de Féligonde and Odette de Martel.
  • The rose 'Ghislaine de Féligonde', obtained by Eugène Turbat, received a merit at the competition of Bagatelle.

Let's hear from the members of the family…
  • Mr B. de Féligonde: "According to Ghislaine de Féligonde's direct testimony, it was a friend of her parents, Mr Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier, then director of the gardens of the city of Paris, who, in 1916, chose the young Ghislaine (born on 14 October 1914) as the godmother of a rose.".
  • Mrs S.F. daughter of Madame Ghislaine de Féligonde: "Charles de Féligonde was seriously wounded during the First World War (a major war invalid) but was obviously not helped by his daughter in the cradle or by his wife. Of course, these Ghislaine roses spread widely throughout the Chantemesle area where a magnificent specimen used to climb one of the North towers. My mother died in 1994. She is buried in the Féligonde family vault. We planted cuttings of this rose which grew well along the cemetery chapel. There were extraordinary gardens at Chantemesle… What was magnificent was the vegetable garden and above all the orchards because my grandfather was passionate about fruit trees.".

Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier was director of the gardens of the city of Paris. In 1905, he had the City of Paris buy the Parc de Bagatelle where he organised the first rose competitions in 1907.

All our thanks to the people who guided our research, to the close family members of Mrs Ghislaine de Féligonde, especially to her daughter who sent us photographs.

Ghislaine de Féligonde around 1920
Ghislaine de Féligonde around 1920
Ghislaine de Féligonde around 1930
Ghislaine de Féligonde around 1930

Madeleine MATHIOT
Extract from the Association's Bulletin n°11 - Autumn 2005

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