Roses in the garden of Anton Chekhov in Yalta

Text: Yuta Arbatskaya, Konstantyn Vikhlyayev

        As we know, Anton Pavlovich Chekhov had not only literary talent but also gardening. He planted numerous trees and shrubs in his garden at “White summer residence” in Yalta, built in 1899. But the writer had a special love to roses. He planted them very much. He emphasized it in his letters to friends: “The garden will be unusual. I planted all with my own hands. I have planted 100 the most noble and the most cultivated grades of roses”.

Summer residence of Chekhov in Yalta. Postcard of the beginning of XX century.

        “I’ve planted 30 lilies and 100 roses”. Chekhov approximates a number of rose bushes, as this figure is more precise in the latter of the writer to O.L. Knipper on February, 14th, 1900: “Only 3 rose bushes have not struck root in the fall from 70. Lilies, irises, tulips, hyacinths are crawling out from the ground”. The divergence in figures is apparently explained by the fact that the writer specifies the number of bushes in the first case and the number of grades in the second case.
        Chekhov wrote down the plants landed in the garden in the notebook “The Garden”. The list of roses from this notebook is a confirmation that there were really about 70 varieties of roses in the garden. In this notebook recorded 159 grades of plants by Latin names, in the majority they are decorative trees, bushes and roses. Only roses are listed on grades from all flower cultures. There are 68 grades of roses in this notebook.
        Besides roses a spiraea and weigela were landed in the garden. In the following years the range of flowers extends more and more. There are perennial plants such as phloxes, Japanese and German irises, and also annual flowers such as carnations, lavateras and others.
        - “Roses and chrysanthemums are blossoming in the garden”.
        - “The weather is amazing today. It is warmly, clearly, dry and quietly like in summer. The roses, carnations, chrysanthemums and still some yellow flowers are blooming”.
        - “There is no winter still in Yalta. The roses are in blossom”.

        What sort of roses did grow in the garden of Chekhov? Let’s turn to the list. 68 grades and types are specified in it. And it is the best roses which only could be ordered from flower nursery at that time. Below we completely provide the whole list with indication of belonging to the group, the name of the breeder (breeder) and the year of creation of each grade (grade) separately. The majority of roses has been kept till today in private rosaries or museums of roses in the Europe. Unfortunately even the roses which were kept from Chekhovian times can be found only abroad. We do not have such museum of roses.

1. ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ (B, Béluze, 1843)
2. ‘Belle Lyonnaise’ (N, Levet, 1870)
3. ‘Ulrich Brunner’ (HP, Levet, 1881)
4. ‘Gloire de Dijon’ (N, Jacotot, 1850)
5. ‘Bougère’ (T, Bougère, 1832)
6. ‘Marie van Houtte’ (T, Ducher, 1871)
7. ‘Empereur du Maroc’ (HP, Guinoiseau, 1858)
8. ‘Maréchal Niel’ (N, Pradel, 1862/1864)
9. R. banksiae alba (1807)
10. ‘Banks épineux de Chine’ (Hybrid Banksia)
11. R. banksiae lutea (1824)
12. ‘Clotilde Soupert’ (Pol, Soupert & Notting, 1890)
13. ‘Marie Pavié’ (Pol, Alégatière, 1888)
14. ‘Turner's Crimson Rambler’ (HMul, Turner, 1893)
15. ‘Cramoisi Supérieur’ (China / Bengale, Coquereau, 1832)
16. ‘Institutrice Moulin’ (China / Bengale, Charreton, 1893)
17. ‘Archiduchesse Maria Immaculata’ (T, Soupert & Notting, 1887)
18. ‘Baronne Berge’ (T, Pernet, 1892)
19. ‘Baron Henriette de Loew’ (T, Nabonnand, 1888)
20. ‘Madame Christine Meister’ (T, Soupert & Notting, 1861)
21. ‘Catherine Mermet’ (T, J.-B. Guillot fils, 1869)
22. ‘Clément Nabonnand’ (T, Nabonnand, 1877)
23. ‘Coquette de Lyon’ (T, Ducher, 1870)
24. ‘Duchesse d'Auerstädt’ (T, Bernaix, 1887)
25. ‘Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand’ (T, Soupert & Notting, 1893)
26. ‘Golden Gate’ (T, Dingee & Conard, 1891)
27. ‘Jules Finger’ (T, Marie Ducher, 1879)
28. ‘Léon XIII’ (T, Soupert & Notting, 1892)
29. ‘Madame Célina Noirey’ (T, J.-B. Guillot fils, 1868)
30. ‘Mademoiselle Christine de Nouë’ (T, неизв.)
31. ‘Madame Crombez’ (T, Nabonnand, 1882)
32. ‘Madame de Watteville’ (T, J.-B. Guillot fils, 1883)
33. ‘Madame Emile Charrin’ (T, Perrier, 1895)
34. ‘Madame Joseph Schwartz’ (T, J. Schwartz, 1880)
35. ‘Madame Lombard’ (T, Lacharme, 1878)
36. ‘Madame Maurin’ (T, J.-B. Guillot père, 1853)
37. ‘Marguerite Ramet’ (T, Levet, 1886)
38. ‘Marie Lambert’ (T, Lambert, 1886)
39. ‘Madame Scipion Cochet’ (T, Bernaix, 1887)
40. ‘Namenlose Schöne’ (T, Неизв., 1852)
41. ‘Princesse de Bassaraba de Brancovan’ (T, Alexandre Bernaix, 1890)
42. ‘Princesse de Sagan’ (T, Dubreuil, 1887)
43. ‘Reine Marie Henriette’ (T, Levet, 1878)
44. ‘Safrano’ (T, Beauregard, 1839)
45. ‘Sombreuil’ (LCl, Неизв., 1880)
46. ‘Souvenir de Laurent Guillot’ (T, Bonnaire, 1894)
47. ‘Vicomtesse Decazes’ (T, Pradel, 1844)
48. ‘Lamarque’ (N, Maréchal, 1830)
49. ‘Rêve d’Or’ (N, Ducher, 1869)
50. ‘Solfatare’ (N, J. Boyau père / Boyeau, 1843)
51. ‘William Allen Richardson’ (N, Marie Ducher, 1878)
52. ‘Achile Gonod’ (HP, J.-M. Gonod, 1864)
53. ‘Anna de Diesbach’ (HP, Lacharme, 1858)
54. ‘Baron de Bonstetten’ (HP, Liabaud, 1871)
55. ‘Baroness Rothschild’ (HR, Pernet, 1868)
56. ‘Captain Christy, Cl.’ (HT, Cl., Marie Ducher, 1881)
57. ‘Charles Lefèbvre’ (HP, Lacharme, 1861)
58. ‘Gloire Lyonnaise’ (HP, J.-B. Guillot fils, 1884)
59. ‘John Hopper’ (HP, Ward, 1862)
60. ‘Le Schah’ (HP, Paul & Son, 1874)
61. ‘Paul Neyron’ (HP, Levet, 1869)
62. ‘Vick’s Caprice’ (HP, Vick, 1891)
63. ‘Cheshunt hybrid’ (HT, G. Paul, Jr., 1872)
64. ‘Caroline Küster’ (N, Pernet, 1872)
65. ‘La France’ (HT, J.-B. Guillot fils, 1867)
66. ‘Madame Bravy’ (T, J.-B. Guillot père, 1846)
67. ‘Sappho’ (T, Paul, 1889)
68. ‘Juliette’ (HP, Lartay, 1862)

        Today only rose banksiae 'Lutea', planted by Anton Pavlovich in the fall 1899, has kept in Chekhov's garden from all 68 grades. Next to it Chinese Wisteria also is kept. Both lianas are memorial. They with other memorial trees make pride of a garden. Rose banksiae 'Lutea' and Chinese Wisteria are classical duet for Southern coast of the Crimea. In fact they blossom at the same time. Both of them are lianas. They look fantastically beautifully in the color pair (the yellow rose – the lilac wisteria). Such duet could be peeped by Chekhov in the Nikitsky garden or near Oreanda ruins or in Gubonin Park in Gurzuf. It was considered in the days of Chekhov that wisteria allocates phytoncides. Phytoncides suppress tubercle bacillus. Probably, it is only a legend, but partly owing to it the whole Southern coast is burned by lilac fires of wisterias every year in May. Trunks of these "Chinese women" excite imagination of artists and poets.

Rose banksiae 'Lutea' planted by A.Chekhov in 1899

        In 2008 the French company "Meilland" has passed to the Chekhov’s garden the new grade of rose 'Anton Tschekhov', which was created by it. On April, 1st, 2009 the official presentation of this grade took place in Kiev at the international exhibition «HorTech-2009». In the catalogue of company «Meilland» 2009 it is told the following about this grade: « The Rose created in memory of the great Russian writer A.P.Chekhov is one more step to an ideal. It is a large flower of dark pink color with fantastic aroma and surprising stability to diseases. It is capable to achieve only «Meilland». This grade has already received 8 awards. Its characteristics are a powerful bush in height of 80-150 sm, large double flowers with the diameter up to 13 sm. The form of flowers is close to "nostalgic". The quantity of petals is up to 60. Aroma is rich with notes of a rose, a lemon and fruit ».

'Anton Tschekhov' (HT, Meilland, 2009)