This is the story of a mysterious rose. We were lucky enough to inherit him with the house. He grows up the wall next to the bay window to our living room, and so is always the first to flower, and often the last. He is a repeat-flowerer, highly fragrant with huge billowy blooms. I guessed it was a David Austin rose. There are relatively few DA Climbing roses, which narrowed it down, and was planted between 2000 and 2012, which excluded recent releases.
Much effort went into trying to identify this rose. It has burgundy-tipped new foliage, maturing to deep green. It has deep rose-pink buds, opening to huge cupped pale pinky peach blooms, paler pink on the outer petals and more peachy at the centre. It has the most luscious fruity scent. I bury my face in this rose and breathe deep. On a warm day, there is a little haze of tutti-frutti scent around it. There are notes of lemon and mango and raspberry, with a background of tea-rose.
I tentatively wondered about ‘A Shropshire Lad’ and took photos to the DA Chelsea stand in 2016. I preened a little when the DA representative looked at my photos and congratulated me.
One thing that I didn’t mention was that this rose has a curious habit of changing colour at the start of the season. Its first bloom is really pink, and this year, after our very cold snap in late winter, it was a deeper pink than I have ever seen.
The first photo was taken on 10th May 2018. The next day it looked like this, a less orangey pink:
Two days later it had faded around the edges of the petals and the centre was looking peachy:
And today, a week after it opened, it looks like this. Blush pink around the edges, still peachy at the centre, a little limp, but still smelling glorious:
There are new flowers following on, which are looking like this, closer to its normal colour:
But having compared this rose with ‘A Shropshire Lad’ in the David Austin Facebook groups, I am now not so sure. This rose is more flat when it opens, and more rumpled. In case you want to cross-reference, here are the official photos and description from David Austin. And here is the foliage as it is now:
What do you think? Are there any alternatives to ‘A Shropshire Lad’ that I have overlooked?
Whatever the origins of this rose, I blooming love his quirkiness.
Now. I have a Royal Wedding party to get ready for. 🥂