The first Gamble medal winner is a cultivar that few know today. But back in 1961, it was the fragrant favorite. Its decline in popularity is surprising given that the rose had been around for twenty-six years before receiving the medal; hybridized before 1935 by William J.H. Kordes, the scion of the Kordes breeding dynasty.
So what is the first winner of the James Alexander Gamble Fragrance Award?
Its red and purple blooms resemble the modern favorite Oklahoma. And while it is more susceptible to diseases like mildew and black spot, unlike Oklahoma it’s cold hardy down to zone 4b.
The fragrance fits nicely into the floral oriental category, with notes of damask and clove. A perfume from the same category is Narciso Rodriguez for Her. Classic and warm.
A friend from HelpMeFind, Nastarana, informed me that the name comes from a poem by Robert Burns:
“A ROSE-BUD by my early walk,
Adown a corn-enclosed bawk,
Sae gently bent its thorny stalk,
All on a dewy morning.
Ere twice the shades o' dawn are fled,
In a' its crimson glory spread,
And drooping rich the dewy head,
It scents the early morning.”
Utah Rose Society