Black Prince

I begin this post with a picture from Gwen Fagan’s book Roses at the Cape of Good Hope. It is not a rose I have, but one I want; for Francois’s mother always remembered it fondly in her garden. And I dedicate it to my friend Diana of Elephants Eye, who grows it in her garden in Porterville, where I still hope one day to see it…

Across lawn to New Old rose garden

Let me now try to show you my roses with some sort of plan. Since I referred in the previous post to the roses from the Rondel Garden being moved to the New Old Rose Garden, this is perhaps a good place to start. We transplanted 125 roses from the Rondel and elsewhere into this garden, as well as 75 cuttings and seedlings from bags. I think no more than ten did not survive; of them several were pretty terminal to begin with… One rose I had thought dead, yesterday sported a shoot from near the base. I will not give up on the others just yet…

Mutabilis in New Old Rose garden

Star of the show is undoubtedly ‘Mutabilis’ which hardly knew it had been moved. Added to that, we  planted several cuttings as well. This easy and lovely rose, which is seldom without its butterfly blooms, combined with the mass of single roses we planted near it, will always be ready to welcome visitors as they enter the garden. The bubble fountain at the entrance can be seen to the left of the above picture.


The name – complete: Rosa chinensis mutabilis  – suits the rose admirably, for the apricot buds open and fade to straw, before become infused with red which grows darker as the flower ages. The mutation is amazing, and the mix of colours is at all stages pleasing.

Mutabilis 2

Mutabilis 3

I grouped most of the single flowering hybrid teas from the 1920s  which formed the hedge around the Rondel nearby. There were four roses, grouped in fours all the way around the Rondel Garden. I refer to them, and there are photos of all four, in the post I pointed you at in my previous entry. (Here it is again.) Of them my favourite, but also the least robust, was Mrs Oakley Fischer. She has not survived at all it seems, nor did Dainty Bess and I can only hope that I will be able to replace them: of the four only Dainty Bess with its unique dusty pink flower and maroon stamens and stigmas is still listed in Ludwig’s Gauteng catalogue.

Golden Wings

One bush at least of Golden Wings (above) survived and is looking robust. Although robust is a term that should be reserved for the Irish: almost all the survivors, and in rude good health they are too, turned out to be Irish Elegance.

Irish Elegance

These aptly named flowers are delicately and subtly infused with salmon  and pink on a lemon yellow base – the colours I recall Peace to have been before  it became so pale…

Morning dew on Irish Elegance

Let us stay with the single roses, although the next two featured previously as the first of the transplants to flower. They are the feathery-leaved species rose (eliciting comment long after the fleeting flowers have passed) Rosa hugonis, the first to flower with small and delicate lemon yellow blooms and Rosa moyesii ‘Geranium’, with blooms of a unique glowing red.

Rosa hugonis,- first to flower Rosa moyesii 'Geranium'

One last comment for this post: under the Mutabilis I planted a selection of Phygelius hybrids, as their colours mirror exactly the colours of this rose. I still need to contort myself to get both into a frame – but I remember the days when we had to do that to get two trees to give the effect of autumn, so I believe in time to come the effect will be spectacular!

Phygelius and mutabilis


4 thoughts on “THE ROSE AND I–Part 2

  1. Indeed it will. I find your autumn colours around the lake the stuff of legends. We have a Dainty Bess from Ludwig’s Roses.

    And thank you for the book evidence of Black Prince. I have three more adopted roses which must be given new names, if I cannot trace them. Anna’s Red, Anna’s Fuchsia, and Anna’s Apricot which has been putting on a mutablilis show but many more petals?

    • Catherine – red soil is typical of Africa. It is a very old and fertile soil. Millions of years of oxidation of the iron in the soil gives it the red colour, I’ve heard. My soil is a little sandy to be perfect rose soil, but they are pretty happy in it!

  2. Pingback: THE ROSE AND I – Part 1 | Sequoia Gardens Blog

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