Isn't that a remarkable photo of Carole Lombard (the October 1939 cover of Movie Life)? This full-color portrait is stunning -- and now, thanks to fellow Lombard fanatic Brian Lee Anderson, I know quite a bit more about a crucial part of this picture...
According to Anderson, these roses, known as "CL Etoile de Hollande" ("Star of Holland"), was Lombard's favorite flower...oh, and to clear up any confusion at the outset, the "CL" is a tag for "climbing roses." That it shares her initials is purely coincidental.
According to Heirloom Roses, Inc., this is "The classic among red climbers. This repeat blooming sport with glossy dark green foliage produces a strong scented bloom of rich velvety red. 4 1/2" bloom with 35 petals."
Often called the "perfect" rose, I;m guessing its fragrance was its selling point for Lombard.
And even in black and white, these roses look impressive:
Both versions of that pic were shot at the couple's ranch in Encino, not long after they moved there. In fact, according to Anderson, Clark planted a mile and a half of these roses along the driveway and courtyard. (He then did likewise at the home of his mother-in-law, Elizabeth Peters, who cultivated roses of her own.)
Anderson ordered some roses, which arrived yesterday. He's put them in pots for now since he plans to move later this year, then will plant them in the ground next spring.
Two reviews gave the roses five-star ratings for fragrance and other qualities.
Each gallon pot is $38 from Heirloom Roses. If you'd like a little bit of Lombard in your garden, visit https://www.heirloomroses.com/cl-etoile-de-hollande.html. Wonder if Julie Newmar, a noted Carole admirer, has any in her extensive garden?