For weeks I’ve been gathering material for this post, but the more I got, the more random the theme became; it has not been a good year for rose photographs, and there is not really the time to delve through my archives, so this is it – a selection of the season’s better pics…

‘Buff Beauty’ is one of the most charming of all roses, and one of my favourites.  Her colour can vary from a dull straw to apricot, depending on the light and the temperature. She is a graceful climber and sweetly scented.

Here she grows with ‘Veilchenblau’ on the Wisteria Arbour in the Anniversary Garden. As they get bigger it becomes less of a contortion to get them both into the same shot. I must remember that come the pruning season!

I am certain that ‘Veilchenblau’ is an ancestor of ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, one of the most talked about of recent introductions. The way they have a red rather than a grey undertone, their velvety purple aging and their lime green foliage differentiate them from most other “blue” roses.

I’ve spoken before of Rosa chinensis ‘Mutabilis’ and here the various colours, from bud to dark maturity and faded old age can be seen. A glorious rose; and of course, a species rose not a hybrid… amazing, isn’t it!

Rosa rugosa is another unmistakable species rose, repeat-flowering all season, with heavily corrugated leaves and a suckering habit. It has single  magenta flowers, which are not to everyone’s taste, especially when seen with the huge orange heps – a startling combination!

Usually R. rugosa comes true from seed, but this is a hybrid! However it won’t make my fortune as it is a little shy to flower and the blooms don’t last very long or produce any heps. A curiosity for my garden only!

After all the lack of genealogy… a bit of breeding. This is a Hybrid Tea known as ‘Garden Queen’ or (in the USA) as ‘Buxom Beauty’. She still stands in her unglamourous bag near the front door. I  thought she might be the answer to my prayers, but her shrill pink colour and flaunting shape don’t appeal to me as they ought. I’ve come to appreciate subtler beauties. I guess she’ll find a spot in the Beech Borders. Yes, I did say bEEch. She was intended for the Ellensgate Garden, but I think something less of a trophy will work better in that comfortable and intimate space…

‘The Squire’ on the other hand has no pretensions to grandeur. He knows he represents the Best of British and happily stood around in Trudie’s Garden for a year before I gave him a more permanent home there. Now, of course, in a quiet way, he lords it over the other roses. He is, after all, one of David Austin’s English Roses…

R. roxburgii plena  is a strange Chinese fellow and was originally thought to be a species, until the single form was introduced and he had a plena added to his name. In fact he is so strange that there are those who question whether he should be called a Rose at all… His buds are covered in spikes, giving him the names Burr Rose and Chestnut Rose  ( you can see one top right) and his silvery bark tends to peel in a most unroselike manner. He has 12 tiny leaflets to a leaf, although that is not nearly as unusual as one might think amongst the species roses.

My ‘New Dawn’ roses are all grown from cuttings. They strike more easily than any other rose I know. The one below the waterlily pond has had literally hundreds of blooms over the last two months – of the softest pink. It is about as typical a rose as one can get, and possibly one of the easiest flowering plants to grow, relative to its contribution in the garden. You do realise that I rank this rose rather highly, don’t you?

‘Tausendshon’ – thousand times beautiful – is an aptly named rose. Almost thornless, it flowers continuously with flushes of apple-blossom pink blooms. Another easy rose from cuttings, although a little prone to mildew with me. But I have yet to spray it; it pulls through of its own accord.

This is not, I guess, a close-up. At least not of the roses, not even quite of the foxglove.  But I’ve been wanting to show you the Anniversary Garden, where mauves and yellows combine. Most of the roses in this shot are ‘South Africa’, a very disease resistant and robust soft orange rose which I can’t praise highly enough, bred by Kordes of Germany.

Here it is in close-up. Worthy of oohing and ahing over…

I’m certain David Austin waited a long time before he dared name a rose after Graham Stuart Thomas, the doyen of old-rose specialists.  He made a good choice.  I believe this has become the most popular yellow rose in the UK.  In South Africa it is best grown as a climber.  After trying to contain my two bushes for three years, they are now blissfully happy on  reed structures, each about two meters high and three meters long.

I said the theme was yellow and mauve, didn’t I? I’d actually misplaced this shot of ‘Veilchenblau’, (taken last year and sought out for this post), but I’m pleased it happened that way. I think it rounds of this little show quite nicely!



  1. fabulous post, Jack! You conquered the photo stuff.
    What temp zone are you considered? It seems you are able to grow about the same as here in North Carolina.
    Austins here in NC, are very BS prone and not that popular (compared to the west coast of the US). Do you spray?
    I wished I had room for Tausendshon.

    • Thanks Noelle! I’m quite proud to have eventually posted my close-ups. My recent playing with posting techniques taught me to post bigger and leave it to wordpress to reduce… ‘South Africa’ is described by our top grower as ‘a new category of rose for disease-resistance and ease’ – besides being beautiful!

  2. Thanks Jim. That was a real quick response. Ye, I conquered it, but without Picasa, now languishing in a bottom drawer…
    Zone? I don’t know, never having come to grips with the USA system. We don’t use anything like that here, not being as extreme as you are I guess. I always say: SA is closer to the equator than most, and at higher altitude than most. Therefore we have a very temperate climate for a continental land-mass. (Besides regular droughts but I’m in a mountainous mistbelt, so that doesn’t affect me greatly… I hope) My winter nights drop to -1Celsius regularly, max about -8, but very seldom below -5. However winter days go up to 12-18. Anything under 10 Celsius we think of as icy. Winters are sunny, with huge day-night swings.
    Summers coolish on the mountain because of regular mists and rain – nights at 14- 18C , days 20- 28 unless there’s a heat wave. Spring, before the rains come, can be harsh. That is our biggest difference from temperate climates. I’ve measured 32C in August, which is theoretically late winter! But in Nov we had 8 degrees in what should have been full summer. And in mid-May, late autumn, we have swum in the mountain stream. Well, played in it, anyway. Only to have -3C days later… My autumn colours are brilliant because by then we drop to say 5C at night but have sunny days at 20 – 25C.
    Does that answer your question or confuse you further?? In correspondence around the world I’ve often seen we’d be in sinc 80% of the time – and totally out the rest!
    Spraying: no I don’t spray. Not because I’m terribly principled, but because I’m broke. Chemicals in a 10ha garden can add up… Because we have so much we can let nature have her share – which I guess is a rather organic approach…
    Austins are basically off the market in SA. They grow too fast and become lanky – most of them. Also I believe Austin marketed himself out of the market… The “post Austin” growers from around the world are doing very well here though!
    Dare Tausandshon! Not being thorny, you’ll forgive her for encroaching!

  3. Re: ‘Veilchenblau’ … this old rose appears often in gardens on the North Coast of California, toward the Oregon border. I first saw it at a Botanical Garden in Mendocino, and wrote about it at the time. The color and form is eye-catching and unusual. A quite rare old beauty.
    As for the English roses, David Austin certainly hit the mark with Graham Stuart Thomas: It’s one of the finest, most beautiful of the many gorgeous Austin roses in terms of its performance in the states. It grew magnificently through the bitter winters in my Chicago garden, and it thrives here in California, too.
    Interesting that they’re off the market in SA. The Austin people are always looking into the growth habits of the roses in varied climates.
    btw, we have cool nights here, too. It makes such a difference when the days can be roasting, but there’s no humidity, and it’s lovely in the evening. Mildew, of course, is an issue.

    • Hi Alice and thanks for popping in… I think one of the best things about our climate is that the altitude means the evenings cool down on the hottest days. I suppose with you it is the coastal fog? In Namibia a hot desert country on the West Coast of Southern Africa, everyone has a ‘cottage at the sea’ where they escape to during holidays to get away from the heat…

  4. Hi Jack, what a wonderful way to spend a cold wintry day here, oohing and aahing right on cue! We have Veilchenblau, enough good things cannot be said for it, a champion. You remind me that Buff Beauty has been on the want list for years, this might be the year although we said no more roses! The Squire really is spectacular too. We grew Graham Stuart Thomas in our Texas garden and had to give it away, it grew way larger than expected. Afterwards I saw it had been reclassified as a climber. Love the long shot with the foxglove, what is growing en masse to the left?

    As a note, when you load the photos onto wordpress, shrink them first on your photo program or you will run out of the free space they provide too soon and have to pay for more. I resize mine to 760 wide with no loss of clarity on the blog. Also less likely to be stolen by the unscrupulous.

    • Thanks for the advice on shrinking, Frances! Mine usually end up at about 720 wide, but I’ve really not been satisfied with the clarity of my pics of late. Possibly the camera (and photographer) are more to blame… Several today were 1024 wide and I seemed to get better results. However you are one of my benchmarks, so if you say 760 then I’ll work at the PRE processing side! Find a place for Buff Beauty. I’ve twice grown it very successfully in high shade so you can fit it in where you thought no rose would g(r)o(w)! To the left of the foxglove is the rosemary flanking the central path… a map of my (huge) garden is on the cards, a project I’d love to get into but simply can’t justify at present! You can see it (the hedge that is!) at https://sequoiagardens.wordpress.com/2009/07/30/81/ between Alfred’s Arches and the Wisteria Pergola to the left of the picture.

  5. Hi SG~~ My garden buddy Carol bought the last ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ during a nursery visit. She was blown over by the delicious scent as well as the unusual bloom color. She rooted a cutting for me and it grew like gangbusters. I wonderful rose.

    I got ‘Mutabilis’ cuttings from a neighbor about three years ago. My plant is doing wonderfully. The multi-colored blossoms are fabulous, aren’t they? … I couldn’t tolerate the blackspot on ‘Squire’ and out it went. Ditto for ‘Graham.’ …’Tausendshon’ looks like a rose I need to have.

  6. The Squire has no more BS for me than the HTs it keeps company. That said, they all do look pretty sad at times, but I feed them well and they grow through it. Austin himself says BS is a problem. I find mildew on Tausendshon more disfiguring – it definitely grows best in a well ventilated spot. Up against the stone wall of the barn is not ideal. Do you treat “Rhapsody in Blue” in any special way? Mine have been a little disappointing and the fanfare died down quite quickly, so I don’t know if the honeymoon is over… But it remains exactly the rose I want among the yellow roses of the Anniversary Garden!

  7. A delicious post of mauve and yellow roses. I love the combination of colors. Your roses are stunning Jack and what a treat to find you on this gray cold New England day. I look forward to strolling through your gardens. Carol

    • Hello Carol, and welcome to my garden. I think we are going to have a lot of fun counter-seasoning in each other’s gardens, but you definitely know greater extremes than I do!

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