been a good year for the roses


Last Christmas my mother in law gave me three David Austin roses as a present-Woollerton Old Hall, The Crocus Rose and Munstead Wood. Part of the fun of buying David Austin roses is choosing from the perfume descriptions, as well as knowing the reasons behind the name.  I love Austin’s English roses for their form and perfume. I know there are beautiful, scentless roses, but I feel a good rose should smell like a rose  and I will happily give garden space to a whiffer over an odourless specimen. As long as I like the whiff!
The three I received are in the whiffer category. Munstead Wood has the rich perfume you would expect of a deep crimson rose, all Renaissance velvets and ladies in turrets like. I love a strong but sweet fragrance on an opulent coloured rose such as this, named after Gertude Jekyll’s own garden. I wondered how the colour would sit in a border, but it works well, surrounded by thrift, thyme and pale flowered dwarf lavender, picking up the colour of a nearby honeysuckle. Our front door border is becoming a fragrant pool of welcome.
Nearby I have planted Woollerton Old Hall, with new flowers like porcelain in a soft apricot/parchment shade. The scent description in the catalogue lured me in, but so far the first flower has only a ghost of the hoped for perfume-pleasant but not especially strong. I can imagine the climbing form looking superb against old stone houses and I still hope the perfume will develop.
The last of the new ones is The Crocus Rose, named after  ‘The Crocus Trust’, which has been set up to help sufferers affected by colorectal cancer. I fear I have given it a hard start, as the Astrantia border it is planted in has grown vigorously this summer and rather overwhelmed it, but extra feeding and watering have resulted in the first gorgeous pale lemon cream flower with a delicious fresh scent. It is an easy rose to situate and I feel ashamed of giving it a less than perfect start. In my defence I could see no sign of the hostas, astrantias and Sibeian irises when I planted it! And it was such a cold spring.
The other roses in the gallery were already here in the garden, all of them pink and all perfumed. Gertrude Jekyll has the very best scent and is flowering prolifically in competition with a beech hedge and huge silver birch, all by itself in an unseen corner of the garden. It deserves a star position, especially if you like pink roses.
This summer I am missing my old favourite, Abraham Darby and have yet to plant Sweet Juliet, bought after a visit to an open garden where it was stunning. You have probably guessed that I may be planning a rose garden, or at least a rose border. If I do, have you a recommendation for a favourite rose? Only whiffers need apply.

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7 thoughts on “been a good year for the roses

  1. I too am rather disappointed with the perfume of Wollerton Old Hall. I was expecting a really strong rose fragrance and mine is very faint and not even very ‘rose’ like, it’s quite odd. Isn’t Gertrude a wonderful scent, I love her! Must have roses – Abraham Darby for its strong scent and gorgeous colour and also Garden Glory, a pale pink short climber with a stunning scent, oh and Lady Emma Hamilton has a real fruity scent and brightens up a dull corner.

    1. I like the sound of the Generous Gardener-I have put it on my list, already topped by Abraham Darby, and will look up Lady Em too. Shame about Woollerton isn’t it? I really was expecting something special. Perhaps it needs cool damp weather for the perfume to emerge.

  2. Oops, it’s not called Garden Glory – it’s actually called the Generous Gardener, sorry for any confusion caused!

  3. I bought my father the Crocus rose as he had a winter birthday – he died a couple of years ago but his rose does better each season. It’s been a good year for roses all round – my current whiffer is the rambler ‘Wedding Day’ – briefly featured here http://wp.me/p1QZEn-1Or. Too big for a border – ideal for a boundary fence or tree.
    The renaissance lady – Munstead Wood looks and sound seductive.

    1. Crocus is a lovely rose and such a good association for you. Thanks for the information about Wedding Day and for the post. It looks lovely and I am wondering if the rambler on our wall is the same one. It is sweetly fragrant but really badly affected by mildew.I suspect the site is too dry this season and the west facing wall is too warm a site for it.

  4. It’s a shame about Woollerton Old Hall, because it’s a beauty to look at. If you can place something that is definitely more orange/copper in tone, Pat Austin is doing brilliantly for me at the moment. Whiff and all. I’ll post pic shortly. She does need a bit of support though!

  5. Just looked up Pat Austin- an interesting colour that may fit in the yellow and orange border rather well. Thanks Jessica.
    Hmmm, Woollerton Old Hall. I had another sniff of the fully open bloom in hot sun and there was definitely a lovely scent, but it is faint.Perhaps there is still hope.

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