The history of the family company "Lemoine and Son" began with Victor Lemoine, who made flower breeding his profession and reached the top of the selection in everything. From about the mid-19th century to the mid-1950s, Victor Lemoine and Son was widely known for its pelargoniums and fuchsias (about 450 forms), gladioli (590 varieties), clematis (almost 90), peonies (60), hydrangeas ( 40), astilbe (about 30), chubushniks, deuts, weigels, begonias and other plants. Many varieties are still popular today.
The son of Victor Lemoine, Emil, from the age of 16, was aware of his father's gardening affairs, and from the age of twenty he was engaged in selection on an equal basis with him. It is interesting that even the founder's wife, Madame Lemoine, who, in all fairness, should be considered the author of many varieties, took an active part in the case. Chubushniki became one of the last decorative cultures to which Victor Lemoine turned his gaze. In total, as a result of family creativity, about forty varieties of chubushniks were created. Lemoyns also established all three areas of selection, which remain to this day:
- non-double, but abundant flowering and original varieties;
- terry and semi-double varieties;
- varieties with a purple mark.
A significant quality of varieties is also what traditionally attracted in this shrub - the aroma of flowers. Let us dwell on the most common varieties present in modern nurseries (in parentheses next to the name of the variety, the year when it was obtained is indicated).
Lemoine's Hybrid Mock (Philadelphusxlemoinei) was obtained in 1892 (Ph. coronariesNS Ph. xmicrophyllus)... It is a shrub 1.5-2 m high with a spreading crown of beautifully curved shoots. It blooms in July, up to 20 days, collected in a brush with pure white, strong-smelling flowers with a diameter of 3-4 cm.
'Boule d'Argent' (‘Silver ball’) (1893) - low (up to 1.2 m in height) bush with small leaves. Flowers 5-7 pcs. collected in dense brushes. The flowers are double, the petals are serrated.
In 1896, the variety ‘Avalanche’ (‘Avalanche'). It is a bush up to 1.5 m tall with arched branches and small light green foliage. The flowers are medium-sized, up to 3.5 cm in diameter, 1-3 per inflorescence, simple, white, with oval petals, between which there are large gaps. The variety is remarkable for its long flowering and exquisite strawberry aroma. Hardy enough.
'Mont Blanc' (‘Mont Blanc’) (1896) - a low bush up to 1 m tall. The inflorescences consist of 3-5 close flowers, the length of the inflorescence does not exceed 3 cm. The flowers are semi-double, pure white, of a very graceful constitution. The petals of the lower circle of the corolla are very wide, do not form gaps, open and beautifully bent back, in outline forming a square-shaped flower up to 3.5 cm in diameter. Inner petals are few, curled inward. It blooms 8 days later than the common mock-orange (June 18-20) and blooms for a very long time (within 30-40 days).
A very elegant and decorative variety is 'Manteau d'Hermine' (‘Ermine Mantle’) (1899). It grows as a multi-stem shrub up to 0.8-1 m tall, with thin hanging branches, narrow and very small foliage. Inflorescences are formed on numerous lateral shoots and consist of 1-3 flowers. The flowers are medium-sized (about 2.5-3 cm), white, semi-double, with narrow outer and even narrower inner petals, very graceful. It blooms extremely profusely. The hanging branches strewn with flowers really resemble a mantle. Blooms 4-7 days later than common mock-orange. In terms of the duration of flowering, it surpasses all other varieties and species, the duration of flowering reaches 31-49 days.
'Bouquet Blanc' (‘White bouquet’) (1903) - bush up to 1.5 m tall. The flowers are large, up to 5 cm in diameter, densely double, snow-white, very fragrant, with broadly oval lower petals and numerous (up to 30) inner petals, gradually tapering from the periphery to the center of the flower, arranged in several circles.A variety of exceptional beauty, but in severe winters, the apical shoots freeze near the shrub. It is advisable to plant it in a place protected from the wind and cover it for the winter.
‘Enchantment’ (‘The charm') - straight shrub up to 1 m tall. It has very compact inflorescences up to 7 cm long, consisting of 9 flowers, sitting very tightly next to each other. The flowers are large, up to 4.5 cm in diameter, densely double, snow-white, somewhat funnel-shaped, with a very delicate, but not strong aroma. In terms of large sultans of inflorescences, very abundant flowering, graceful addition of flowers, this is one of the most beautiful Lemoine varieties. Blooms on June 21-24, flowering duration 20-25 days.
Quite often you can find on sale chubushnik girlish (Ph. xvirginalis) (1909), or 'Virginal’ - a complex hybrid obtained by Lemoine in 1909 as a result of crossing several wild species. Its flowers are large, double, practically odorless. Blooms from June 21 to July 10. The bush is large, spreading, up to 2.5 m high.
‘Albastre’ ('Alabaster') (1912) - the bush is more compact than that of Virginal (up to 1.5 m), with strong straight shoots. Inflorescences - up to 11 cm long, consist of 7-9 flowers. The flowers are large, up to 5 cm in diameter, snow-white, simple, sometimes semi-double, with wide, not forming gaps, spaced petals. The inner petals are very narrow, few in number. The flowers are very fragrant. Blooms in the twentieth of June. It blooms for a long time, up to 25 days.
‘Glacier’ ('Glacier') (1913) - shrub up to 1.5 m tall with strong erect branches and oval foliage. Inflorescences in the form of dense bundles about 6 cm long, very numerous. From the inflorescences, narrow, dense, snow-white sultans of enormous length (up to 50-70 cm) are formed. The inflorescence itself consists of 5-7 flowers. Flowers are densely double, rather large, up to 4.5 cm in diameter, fragrant.
‘DameBlanche’ (‘Dam Blanche’) (1920) - a wide bush (width 1.5 m, height-1 m) with dark green leaves, up to 5 cm long. It blooms on the border of June and July with semi-double fragrant white flowers, up to 4 cm in diameter, collected in a brush.
‘Innocence’ (‘Abundance’) (1927) - shrub up to 2 m tall, with yellow-variegated leaves. Fragrant flowers, up to 3.5 cm in diameter, simple and semi-double. It begins to bloom from the age of three, from the end of June to the first decade of July.
One of the most late-flowering Lemoine varieties, which has proven itself well in the Moscow region - ‘Piramidal’ ('Pyramidal'). It is a short-stemmed shrub up to 2 m tall, straight, with a narrow crown and strong erect shoots, ending in inflorescences of 9 flowers. The flowers are large, up to 4.5-5 cm, white, double and semi-double, deeply cupped in shape. The outer petals are wide, the inner ones are narrow, of various shapes. It goes well with other, shorter varieties.
Undoubtedly, Lemoine varieties with a two-color flower color are of great interest for lovers of chubushniks. Chubushnikov with a purple spot in the center of the flower corolla did not exist in nature before the Lemoines. Wild chubushniki are generally not rich in color palette, they are only white or creamy yellow.
The first variety in this series was bred in 1908 by the elder Lemoine ‘Etoile Rose’ (‘Etoile Rose’) - a bush less than 80 cm high, with small leaves and simple, slightly bell-shaped flowers. At the very base of the petals, a carmine-pink spot thickening towards the center was clearly visible.
Then in 1918 followed 'Bicolore' (‘Two-tone’) - bush up to 1 m tall, with large (or collected in a short raceme) flowers with a purple center and golden anthers of stamens. During flowering, the bush seems to dress up in white and pink lace.
But the main achievement on this path was 'Belle Etoile' (‘Belle Etoile’, Beautiful Star), created by Emile Lemoine. The bush turned out to be taller, in France it has a height of up to 150 cm, flowering is more abundant. In our conditions, this variety grows as a compact bush with thin straight shoots about 1 m high. The leaves are small, with a drawn-out tip. The flowers are simple, bell-shaped, up to 4 cm in diameter, with a weak strawberry aroma.The carmine purple spot in the center is larger and brighter than previous species. Less winter-hardy than traditional varieties, it freezes under severe snowless winters, but recovers during the season. In the first year after planting, the shrub should be covered with spruce branches for the winter. The brightness of the purple spot varies markedly depending on the weather conditions of the season.