The Rose and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

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. 🥂

32 Comments Add yours

  1. cavershamjj says:

    I am increasingly a right softy for roses. I like this one a lot. Adding to want list…

    1. Ali says:

      Ah, that is lovely… I will try to confirm its identity as my mum is also (definitely) growing ‘A Shropshire Lad’ in her garden. I shall compare the two.

  2. Emma Cownie says:

    Love the bunting! We certainly have the weather for it!

    1. Ali says:

      My lovely friend supplied the bunting, and then my daughters made some more. We were very lucky with the weather!

      1. Emma Cownie says:

        The weather is fab at the moment, I have almost forgotten the very long winter.

      2. Ali says:

        I know. It is a tonic, isn’t it? (Gin optional).

  3. janesmudgeegarden says:

    It’s gorgeous! I love your description of his perfume. You could get a job at a cellar door if you ever wanted to come and live here!! (big grape growing area with lots of wineries).

    1. Ali says:

      That’s what happens when you live with a certified wine-maker!

  4. What an unusual rose, all the colours on one plant must make it more interesting.

    1. Ali says:

      They do! I never know what I’m going to find!

  5. pommepal says:

    A beautiful rose and especially special being scented. Well done with the id. Now to top up my wine glass as the tv coverage is just about to start of “you know what”

    1. Ali says:

      Hope you enjoyed the wedding – we did!

      1. pommepal says:

        I did, the dress was beautiful, what did you think of the gospel minister and his spiel on love?

      2. Ali says:

        I was with him for the first half! I think he had a lovely time, and was memorable!

      3. pommepal says:

        Certainly was a talking point

      4. Ali says:

        I found it very moving to see a far more diverse crowd at a Royal Wedding. About time.

  6. Heyjude says:

    “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

  7. I hate to say this, but I don’t think it is A Shropshire Lad. I have the aforementioned and it doesn’t look like this and doesn’t flower quite this early! Anyone else have an idea?

    1. Ali says:

      My mum is growing ‘A Shropshire Lad’ for the first time, so will be able to compare it. But would love to hear anyone else’s suggestions as I am a bit stumped!

  8. Robyn Haynes says:

    The Shropshire Lad is a fascinating bloom. Who would have thought there would be so many versions in the one flower over days? I just adore the DA roses but cannot grow them in this climate. I could imagine burying my nose in one as you describe. Ahh – heaven! scent!

    1. Ali says:

      I know! And it is so useful capturing the moments on my phone because you can’t trust your memory. If only I had an app to capture the fragrance. And the heaviness, and the soft feel of the petals, and the warmth in the sun…

      1. Robyn Haynes says:

        Oh now you’re talking about an app I would definitely like. Maybe given the pace of technology, it’s not that far off?

  9. Gea says:

    Could it possibly be Rosa Aloha?

    1. Ali says:

      Oh my goodness, it might be! I have only done a very brief search, and it does seem to fit. The only thing that looked as though it might be different is this rose never reveals any stamens and in one or two pics (which may have been mis-labelled – it was just a quick google search) they were visible in ‘Aloha’. But it ticks all the other boxes – huge, fragrant, colour-wise. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!

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