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!