questions about Cecile Brunner

christinmk z5b eastern WAAugust 12, 2009

Hi guys! I was hoping you could answer some of my questions about my 'Cecile Brunner' rose.

I bought this rose last year on sale at a local shop. I didn't put it in a very good situation, so it hasn't done much. I plan to move it to a better location. But first I need to know how large I should expect it to get in my zone.

I looked online and some places say it is a climber/rambler and some say shorter shrub. Does this mean there are two forms? A shrub and a climber? If so, how big to both get?

I would also like to know the exact bloom time of this rose. Mine only put out two roses this year. They seemed to come on later than most roses, about a month. Are these late blooms the typical for CB? Perhaps in better conditions it would bloom earlier?

Thanks for any info you can give!


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I cannot answer all of your questions but I can share a little. I just went through this whole thing with Jeri and she helped me a lot as usual.

My husband bought the Ducher bred pink polyantha (non climber) at the Sacramento City Cemetery Sale in Spring of 2008. I thought it was a climber so I planted it at the base of an arbor. Fast forward to August of this year. No long canes. I began to suspect something:) Turns out there is a climbing and non climbing version and this is the shrub. A mannerly little thing that is about 2 1/2 feet tall right now with nearly ever present small pink (called buttonhole by some) blooms. Very happy and healthy.

I like it very much. I will be moving it though as it has no business up against the arbor. Thinking of putting Fourth of July of Cl. Iceberg in its place.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 5:05PM
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There is a climbing & shrub version of Cecile Brunner. The climber can get a good 18', but it is a lousy repeater. You get a beautiful spring flush then it just grows & grows and doesn't bloom again. The polyantha shrub will get about 3' and blooms most of the season.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 7:34PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Kate's right. There are multiple forms of this lovely "Sweetheart" rose.

(My grandmother called her "Cecil Brooner." Didn't yours?
She was named for a pretty young Swiss miss, so she is 'Mlle. Cecile Brunner' (With an accent over the first e in Cecile, and an umlaut over the u in Brunner.)

My heart is given to the original bush form, which is found in so many old cemeteries, planted on the graves of children.
Given time, and not pruned hard, the original Polyantha can grow up to 7-8 ft.
More reasonably, you'll see it hit maybe 4 ft., but it IS a constant bloomer, disease-free in SoCal, and fragrant.
What's not to like?

The best-known form is probably Cl. Mlle. Cecile Brunner.
It is a huge rangy climber which my friend Kim calls a "weed." It is often non-remontant. The plant I had for years did repeat a bit, particularly toward fall.

There is another form, Spray Cecile Brunner.
This one often grows a little taller than the original 'Mlle. Cecile Brunner,' and carries its airy sprays a bit above the rest of the bush.
It otherwise has all the virtues of the original.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 7:40PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Thank you everyone for the answers!

-Jeri, such wonderfully interesting info! Yes the name sounded rather Germanic, so I also said 'Brooner'. The scent is sooooo wonderful! That is the reason I bought her, I just couldn't resist that scent! I am pretty sure mine is the shrub sort. It was from Weeks.

A few weeks ago I was watching a gardeing show on tv and they showed this HUGE Cecile Brunner. It had taken over a house. It was amazing! I don't think a climber could get that big in my zone, but I wanted to make sure anyhow. :-D
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 7:55PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Christin, That, clearly, was the climber!
It will be interesting to see what she will do in your chillier winters. She is a Poly-Tea, and most commonly-seen in warmer climates.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 10:55PM
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CMK, if I may, you might enjoy an article I have on Help Me Find about Iceberg and the parallel I drew between it and Mlle Cecile Brunner as they are both actually hybrid multifloras.

Answering your question about how big she will get can be very tricky because we're not talking about two distinct "versions" of the same seedling, rather multiple shap shots of it along a continuum. Perhaps comparing it to Poor Old Iceberg may provide some insight into the difficulty. I hope you enjoy!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 1:49AM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-Jeri, definitely a climber! The show featured a garden in Southern Africa I think (could be wrong). Cecile Brunner was planted against a wall and was over 15ft. tall. The interesting thing about it was that they had it growing on one cane- trunk by this time- against the building. Either they meant to do that, or it was a tree rose grown to a gigantic size! They said that when the building had to be repaired they leaned the entire rose over and tied the top to the ground. WHen the work was done, they just propped her back in place. It was mind boggling how that could be done! Cecile must really be a tough old broad!

I was confused as to the variations of this rose (shrub vs. climber). I broke out in a cold sweat when I saw how big that CB rose got! I needed to make sure I had the smaller shrub type, lol!

-roseseek, that was a very good article. I had always wondered how there could be several versions of the same rose. Now I know what sporting means!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 1:52PM
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palustris(Z6 MA)

Don't expect 'Mlle. Cecile Brunner' to get very large in zone 5. In fact, I would definitely give it winter protection so that it can build up to a nice little shrub of 18" or so. That's how you will get it to bloom. I had one here in zone 6 and it failed to thrive and eventually faded away trying to compete with perennials in a mixed border.

I still have 'Climbing Mlle. Cecile Brunner' and it has the same delightful little flowers and does flower for an extended period in the spring. It will be a real monster though, and is almost rambler like in zone 6. Mine has sent several canes straight up over 8' tall during the last few years. I need to move it and I'm trying to figure out the best spot for it. With flowers this small, it needs to be near where one passes by to appreciate the flowers.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 3:03PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Thanks for the height info palustris! I was wondering if it would get tall or not in my zone. Certain roses do seem to stay on the small side here, so it is a real guessing game when it comes to positioning.

It has been rainy and cool here, so I just went out and transplanted the Cecile Brunner rose. I put in in an area by the driveway bed where it can either get big or stay small, whatever it likes.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 4:05PM
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I got a Cecile Brunner this year too. It's the climbing kind and it's gone crazy around my's probably grown about six different 8' to 10' canes since I planted it in late June. I just keep wrapping the canes around the wood railing, but I bought it after it had finished blooming.

I don't know if it will survive the winter, but I have it up against the house, so I'm hopeful. My Mom got the shrub type last year, which was very pretty, but it didn't survive the winter, which was extreme.

I know Heirloom Roses did have a Climbing Cecile Brunner that was supposed to be continuous bloom, like the shrub. I don't usually buy anything that isn't rated zone 4, but I felt sorry for this little rose (it was little when I bought it) all alone in the Clearance section of the garden department.

Good luck on the transplant CMK. It is a good time to do it right now and I'm sure your rose will look very nice...and hopefully rebloom :)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 11:33AM
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I am in Zone 8 Texas, and my CB polyantha easily grows 8ft tall and about 6ft wide. I actually have birds build nests in the bush. It blooms constantly, even in what we call winter.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 2:45PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Hi Lavender_Lass! Good to hear your experience with this rose. I bought mine at the Freya Fred Meyer. I couldn't pass it up.
I think you said you live on the Palouse? I have been on the Palouse highway several times. I didn't know it was a zone 3-4 over there though! You must have had a worse winter than us. The snow banks, from the plows, got up to eight feet here! Were you snowed in?

Do you grow many roses? How are yours doing this year? Last winter really took a toll on mine. They did rather poorly overall this year. Maybe we will have to exchange rose info some time, which kind we have had luck with and such.
Have a great day!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 2:48PM
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I bought mine at the Sullivan Fred Meyer :)

We did not get snowed in last year, but they did further south. I am outside of Rockford, towards Idaho, but on the edge of the Palouse. We still have trees, but we also have a creek behind the house and I guess that's why we get such cold winters. It's been -27 F. about every third winter. It almost always gets at least -20 F. so I try to stick with zone 4 roses. If I plant away from the house, I figure zone 3 to be on the safe side.

All of my roses died last winter, but they were all Clearance roses from Fred Meyer that I bought at the end of last summer :) I planted four new tea roses (and the Cecile Brunner) earlier this year and I'm trying a few zone 4 from Heirloom Roses...two Fantin Latour and one miniature rose. I'm hoping they'll do better this year. We can't have three bad winters in a row....right?

You have a great day too!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 2:58PM
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I wanted to ask you if you'd been to Northland Rosarium? I've never been there, but their last public day is on Saturday August 15 from 10-4, I believe. I know it's on their website. I may take my Mom out there to look at some Rugosas. She's ready to try some roses that are a little hardier :)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 3:02PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Wow is that cold! I grow several David Austin roses. I love the look of them, but they seem prone to a lot of problems. Fungus seems to be a major issue with them. If I buy any more roses I think I will branch out into the hardier sorts (other than DA) that are disease resistant.

I think I was once at Northland, but it was many years ago. I have seen them at the Garden Expo though. They were selling some own-root roses. They were still pretty small, and a little overpriced. But if they are healthy and grow well here I suppose one can't complain. You will have to let me know how the Rugosas do if you get some.

Have you ever been to the Garden Expo, at the Spokane Community College? It doesn't have as much as it did in years past. My favorite sale is the one at Manito Park. Such a wonderful selection; they have so much that I hardly ever go to nurseries any more. Have you ever been? There is a Fall sale comming up on Aug. 29th. It is open to the public around 10am I think.

It is so great to talk with someone from Eastern Washington! I have only found a few other people on GW from this side of the state. If you would like to chat more about roses and such you can send me an e-mail. Just click on the 'My Page' part on my post and there will be a button to send me an e-mail. If you want to that is. ;-)
Happy Gardening!
Christin (CMK)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 6:03PM
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Where I'm from originally (SF Bay Area), Cl. Cecile is a huge house eating monster. It is a PITA unless you are sure you want it and maintain it. My lot was invaded by a neighbor's and it was as irritating as the invasive ivy and morning glory the neighbors also inflicted on my tiny lot. Pretty in the spring, BUT. It is common in that area... S. Africa has quite a similar climate in places to the California coast, so I am not surprised Cl. Cecile gets gigantic there too.

I am sure I would have appreciated it more if I did not dislike most light/mid pinks.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 4:19AM
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Christin, I did not know about the sale at Manito Park. That sounds like a great place to find roses! Do they have any old garden roses available, or just the tea roses?

I would be happy to discuss gardening anytime, but I'm going to have to wait until I get my new e-mail address set up. I'll e-mail you as soon as I do.

Good luck with the roses and until then I'll chat with you on the forum :)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 1:41PM
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