The French Empress & The British Gardeners

Yesterday, I was the guest of romance author, Caroline Warfield, at her blog. The topic of my post at Caroline’s blog is one that is near and dear to my heart, roses. In particular, I wrote about how Empress Joséphine put literally hundreds of species of roses under cultivation in her gardens at Malmaison during the Napoleonic Wars, with the able assistance of her head gardener, who was an Englishman. In addition, she was a regular customer of the pre-eminent English nursery, Lee and Kennedy. And both the Prince Regent and the Royal Navy also provided assistance from time to time.

You can find my article here. I do hope you will enjoy it.


3 thoughts on “The French Empress & The British Gardeners

  1. Quite extraordinary! War suspended for roses… there have to be plot bunnies here in such fertile soil. Does a young British officer designated as a courier of plants meet one of Josephine’s ladies and fall in love? is a bold French officer clever enough to acquire plants which, using the language of flowers, spell out a message, knowing that he will not cross the blockade but wanting to send intelligence? could a rose hip sent ostensibly for its seeds have been skillfully slit and a small message inserted?
    Rose is such a pretty name, much more distinguished than Josephine. What a fool Napoleon was; and I wonder if that was the start of her writing less passionately to him than he did to her.

    • Oh, I love your plot bunnies!!! Love and roses! What is not to like? 😉

      Poor Josephine was at her wit’s end by the time she met Napoleon. None of her politically powerful paramours to that time had been willing to offer her marriage, or any kind of security. And, she was a widow with little money and two small children to support. I think she married him because she was desperate and he was seen as an up-and-comer. I even think she cared for him, at least at the beginning. The loss of one’s name is such a personal thing that it makes sense to me that she fell out of like for him after that, but tolerated him for the sake of her children. From what I have read about her, she was a kind woman, but she had a very tough life.



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