Just Peachy

I thought I would devote a post to my peachy roses.  These are all David Austin English roses.  Because they, frankly, are the best.

These roses have surprised me.  I did not expect to love them quite so much.  I have always been a crimson-purple kind of a girl.  But it turns out I have my peachy moments.

First, ‘Lady of Shalott’.

Rosa 'Lady of Shalott'
Rosa ‘Lady of Shalott’

This is hailed by David Austin as the perfect rose to grow for a beginner.  I would say that all English roses are perfect for the beginner.

They need a decent planting hole of a spade’s depth and width, some compost or well-rotted manure dug in with the soil, and plenty of watering in.  Following the first flush of flowers, you can lightly fork some blood-and-bone through the soil around them*.   Then I add a generous bucket of well-rotted manure in autumn or spring every year.  And prune back hard to 30-50cm tall in February.  Oh, and deadhead the flowers during the summer, so that it keeps producing more.

I know that might sound complicated if you’ve never grown roses before, but that is a year’s work.  I’m always here to hold your hand if you need help!

But back to Rosa ‘Lady of Shalott’.  Here she is in bud, looking skyward:

Rosa 'Lady of Shalott' (4)
Rosa ‘Lady of Shalott’ in bud.

And here she is full-blown, looking down.

Rosa 'Lady of Shalott' (2)
Rosa ‘Lady of Shalott’

She is named after the Tennyson poem where the Lady of Shalott is trapped in her tower, weaving tapestries, her magic web, without being able to look out upon the world, except through a mirror.  When she dares look up, her magic web is released:

Out flew the web and floated wide—
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott.

She floats down a river on a boat, dies because of the curse, and is fawned upon by doting knights.  Typical.

‘Lady of Shalott’ is great for slightly wild, unkempt places.  I grow her at the boundary between the flower garden and the allotment, where she can dance with the wild flowers.  I would like to think that she is weaving a web of magic across the garden.

I partner Rosa ‘Lady of Shalott’ with this rather fabulous Salvia x jamensis ‘Nachtvlinder’.  My mum has a way with cuttings, and has hatched this for me.  I love the plush purple of this salvia.  It is another of those iridescent flowers, that just shimmers in the light, shifting its colour in a way I find thrilling.  If you look at the edge of the flower, it seems to shine ultraviolet.  I love the dark stems too, and the unopened buds, which are smoky mauve.  The shape of the flower itself reminds me of a cello, or a bird showing off its wings.

Salvia 'Nachtvlinder'
Salvia x jamensis ‘Nachtvlinder’

In some lights, this salvia is just slightly more magenta-purple.  Here it is with Rosa ‘Lady of Shalott’.  Oh, I love purple and apricot together!

Salvia x jamensis ‘Nachtvlinder’ with Rosa ‘Lady of Shalott’

Rosa ‘Lady of Shalott’ smells of apple strudel.  Which is quite impressive for a rose.

The second peachy rose I want to show you is Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’.  The real Lady Em was a resourceful woman who lived on her wits.  She is most famous for being the muse of the painter Greville and the mistress of Nelson.  From reading her Wikipedia profile I would say that she was a survivor.  An intelligent, creative, entrepreneurial, adventurous, resilient and joyous one.  Her namesake shares a certain joie-de-vivre, freshness and warmth:

Rosa 'Lady Emma Hamilton'
Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’

Its red stems and dark green foliage give it a seriousness and depth, to balance the lightness of the flower.

Rosa 'Lady Emma Hamilton' (3)
Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’

This rose also allows me to indulge my thing for purple and orange.  I’ve gone for full saturation here, with my favourites, Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’ and Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’.

Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ buds against Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’ and Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’

The flowers have a lovely globe shape, often with a little hole at the centre. I love that the outer petals are rosy, and the centre holds dark depths.  This rose has such softness, and tenderness.

Rosa 'Lady Emma Hamilton'

Here Lady Em is, in her maturity.  She never hangs her head, but remains poised for all life may throw at her.  She contains herself in a neat little cup, looking dignified and self-assured.

Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ and Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’.

Lady Em smells divine.  She is incredibly fruity and zingy and lively.  She makes me want to sing.

Finally, here is Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’.  This rose is suitably splendiferous and scrumdiddlyumptious.

Rosa 'Roald Dahl' (2)
Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’

This is a neat little rose, slightly smaller than ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’.  It has quite a formal arrangement of softly folded petals within a definite cup.  The flowers tend to look upwards.  It is palest apricot, fading to almost to cream.

Rosa 'Roald Dahl' (3)
Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’

This rose looks beautiful with Geranium ‘Orion’.  The delicate apricot rose is perfectly balanced by the airy blue-lilac of the geranium.

Rosa 'Roald Dahl' and Geranium 'Orion'
Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’ and Geranium ‘Orion’

I worried that this rose might be too yellow for my rose garden, but actually that is exactly what is needed. The golden apricot flowers shine across the border, enlivening the whole space.  Can you see them, right across the border?  Excuse the washing line, but they are just to the left of this!

In the foreground: Geranium ‘Anne Johnson and Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ with Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’.

I’ll come in a little closer, if that helps.

In the foreground: Geranium ‘Brookside’ with Rosa ‘Tuscany Superb’. Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’ and Geranium ‘Orion’ are in the background.

Doesn’t it shine?  And this time, this is a view from the seating area.  This time it’s in the middle towards the back…

In the foreground is Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’ Behind this are Rosa ‘England’s Rose’, ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’ and ‘Hansa’, with Geranium ‘Orion’ and Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’ behind.

The scent of ‘Roald Dahl’ is subtle.  It is green and leafy and subdued, with a comforting whiff of tea.  It doesn’t knock me off my feet, but it intrigues me.

Out of these three roses, ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ is my favourite, because she has it all: handsome foliage, complex colour, graceful form, incredible scent, and she combines beautifully with other favourite plants.

Which one do you like?  Do you grow any of these?  Or any other peaches?

If you want to see other favourite roses, click on the ‘roses’ tab below, or on the purple ‘roses’ category link above the title of this post.  You can always start a new Google search with the words ‘The Mindful Gardener’ + ‘rose’ + the name of the rose you want to search.

*Skip the blood-and-bone if you have foxes – I recommended this to my boss and her garden was then excavated by ravenous foxes. We also have foxes, but not such greedy ones. If in doubt, try it around a less-prized specimen first.  Other slow-release fertilisers are available.  I feed my pot-grown with the occasional watering-can of dilute liquid sea-weed.

My aim on this site is to share the sense of wonder I get from gardening and being outdoors. 

If you would like to join the joy, click on the ‘Follow’ button at the end of this post. You will receive an email each time I post a little pop of wonder. 

38 Comments Add yours

  1. Christina says:

    I know this is a post about roses but for me the star plant was Salvia x jamensis ‘Nachtvlinder’; well done your mum!

    1. Ali says:

      It is a beautiful salvia, isn’t it?

  2. Reema says:


  3. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Yes, I loved the salvia too, but then I have a ‘thing’ for salvias almost as powerful as your rose thing. I don’t have many roses, and the ones I have are found everywhere. Common, one might say. However, I recently purchased a Julia’s Rose and I’m excited about seeing it come into flower when the time comes. I love those dusty old-fashioned shades.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Ah, Julia’s Rose. Parchment and coffee I believe. One I might actually purchase.

      1. Ali says:

        It is lovely. It reminds me of the Tulip ‘La Belle Epoque’. I like the description of ‘parchment’!

      2. Heyjude says:

        Yes! Similar colours I think. I’m sure I don’t need to ask you for a photo once she flowers. 🙂

    2. Ali says:

      ‘Julia’s Rose’ is a very intriguing colour! I like it! I love salvias too; I just can’t afford another ‘thing’!

  4. pommepal says:

    I love your colour combinations

  5. Evelyn Flint says:

    Your roses are gorgeous!

  6. Sam says:

    Gorgeous roses and general planting but what really caught my eye is that beautiful salvia! I have added it to my long wish list 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      That salvia is proving very popular!

  7. As always, full of good information and photos. You’ve encouraged me to maybe pull out my roses that have never done well and start again.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, I am ruthless with under-performers. I pulled out the non-smelly hybrid teas.

  8. Nat says:

    My sister has a Julia Rose. It is very beautiful and one I quite like the smell of. Curiously (or maybe blasphemously enough) I’ve never been into roses. I do have a pink climbing rose called Tiffanie (hubby bought it for me). Your roses almost convert me 😊

    1. Ali says:

      That’s ok, Nat, you are in a safe space here. What appeals is so intensely personal. And I have found that I can go most of my life never noticing a particular plant and then something happens and I’m in love.

  9. Your photos always capture the happy spirit of the flowers.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you. x

  10. So beautiful, so beautiful!

  11. Island Time says:

    Lovely as always! I like the colour combinations too; very rich looking, and the yellowish rose is just the right bright touch in the whole picture. My rose family is minimal, there are three, one of which my youngest daughter planted when she was still a young thing living at home; Golden Showers (or Rain), I think it is called, sunshine yellow, old fashioned, single, climbing up the front of the woodshed. Next to it and repeated on the opposite side of the wood shed, a deep wine-coloured rose, grown from cuttings I took from one that had been planted here before my time, a sweet scented floribunda (like attar of rose) and also trained to climb ( trying to keep them above the mouths of hungry deer). Finally, clambering in amongst the whole lot is a pink, fluffy little rose, also a climbing floribunda, grown from a cutting and a gift of a young neighbour, very pretty, but a little prone to a dusty looking fungal beasty when the weather is wet, as it has been. I am afraid I do not know their names, but I do love them regardless. You are inspiring me to look for more roses to add to my garden….thank you once again for the lovely post.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you! It is lovely to have a story and family associations with particular plants, isn’t it? I have been known to buy plants because they have the same name as a loved one, or in one case shared a name with my youngest daughter’s invisible friend, the dahlia ‘Honka’!

      1. Island Time says:

        Fun! Great name for a dahlia and an invisible friend!!

  12. Karen says:

    Am planning my own rose garden here in northeast Scotland. So many of your roses are on my wish list so it’s been inspirational to see them almost in the flesh. Do you plant your roses as individuals or do you follow DA’s advice and plant them in threes of the same kind? My wish list is miles bigger than my budget!
    Am loving your blogs. Thank you

    1. Ali says:

      Hi Karen, thank you for your lovely comment – it means a lot. Yes, I do usually plant in groups of three, and it does mean that you get a nice big bushy effect and generous flowering. With the pitfall of more expense, of course! I know that feeling with a wishlist being way bigger than your budget. I ask for roses for my birthday and Christmas, and have added to my collection over a few years. I recently discovered that you can actually take cuttings and grow these roses on their own rootstock, which is good to know if I ever move house!

  13. I love that you mentioned the Lady of Shalott in this one. I love that poem, and it is also so tragic. I like your spin on it. I want to write a new version of that story that gives it a happy ending.

  14. Heaven, absolute heaven! The funny thing is, that when I read your posts and look at the pictures I start sniffing … it’s literally as though my mind thinks I’m really there, in your garden and I’m trying to smell your roses. They’re absolutely beautiful! Katie x

    1. Ali says:

      That is funny! Love it!

  15. Chloris says:

    Gorgeous roses, yes Lady Em is my favourite she has such lovely stems and foliage . You are very good at describing scent, I can never find the right words to translate it.

  16. susurrus says:

    You’ve got several of my favourites here – another is ‘Grace’. It’s lovely to see them with perennials in a beautiful garden setting.

  17. Such a lovely mix of colours. Love your salvia from your mum, such a great colour especially with those roses.
    Have you tried Lark Ascending? my favourite of the DA peachy colours

    1. Ali says:

      I haven’t, but I have been tempted! I love the flower shape of it too!

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