The distinctive mauve or mauve blend flowers of Charles de Mills are easy to identify.
By contrast, its origins are unclear: the variety was developed by an unknown Dutch breeder before 1786.
The rose was probably named after a Charles Mills who was a Director of the East India Company, elected 1785. Another story is that the rose acquired its name in 1830, after a plant breeder named Charles Mills Blyth in Nottinghamshire.
In France ‘Charles de Mills’ was originally called ‘Bizarre Triomphant’ and it appeared -after it was introduced to that country in 1790, and 13 years later in the catalog of J.L.Descemet, who provided a large part of the rose collection of Empress Josephine. It is therefore not surprising that this rose later appeared in Vibert’s catalog of 1820.
Sir Francis Bacon wrote about the Gallica roses “they are fast flowers of their smells’. In other words, the petals are retentive of scented oil, which of course makes them ideal for potpourri and for flavouring wines, preserves and confectionery. ‘Charles de Mills’ has a deeply floral and resinous fragrance, akin to retsina wine.
The earliest mention of 'Bizard triomphante' is in the 1786 catalogue of Gottlob Börner from Dresden, Germany. ‘Bizard’ was a term applied to tulips with streaked petals. The word seems to have been changed to ‘bizarre’ in later French publications.
Type of rose: Gallica
Flowers: The strong fragrant lowers are large and lightly cup-shaped and filled with a multitude of small petals.
Growth habit: Plant height of 1m to 1.5m. Width 1.2m to 1.5m.