If I had to choose one rose above all the rest, it would probably be ‘Munstead Wood’.
It is a rose that looks beautiful from bursting bud to blown bloom.
I have a thing for crimson roses that are just touched with plum.
‘Munstead Wood’ has the velvety texture of a Gallica rose. In some lights it is plush maroon, like ‘Tuscany Superb’. At other times, the plum or cerise is more prominent, and it is more like ‘Sissinghurst Castle’.
It is almost impossible to catch the full spectrum of its subtle hues in a photo. These two come close, showing the outer purplish tones, and the inner cherry-red.
The petals become more velvet as they age, with darker plum veining.
The shadows cast between the mingled petals add to the richness.
And when they catch the light the edges of the petals become translucent.
In bright sun, there is an iridescent glister.
The flowers are perfect plump cushions, not too big and not too small. Each one would fit nicely in the palm of my hand.
The petals are coiled and slightly cupped in bud, giving a darkly enticing centre. It is perfect for a nose to fit into.
And then the flower arches back and the petals become looser, and more rumpled.
The flowers are beautiful from every angle.
They are produced in profusion.
‘Munstead Wood’ flowers pretty much continuously from June to December.
The fragrance matches the rose. Old rose with damson and blackcurrant. Inhale deeply. Bury your face.
Is it just me, or does it look like there are plump lips waiting to kiss you?
My favourite place to sit is right here, smelling the sun-warmed roses, and drinking a cup of tea.
‘Munstead Wood’ is a David Austin English rose. I grow three in large pots. They get an annual mulch of well-rotted muck, and some blood-and-bone after their first flush. I give them a couple of buckets of water every couple of weeks if it has been dry. And deadhead each spent bloom. I prune back to about 30cm in February. I don’t spray any of my roses, choosing disease-resistant varieties, and companion-planting with a wide range of herbaceous perennials.
Do you have a favourite? What do you like in a rose?