If there is one rose in my garden that out-flowers them all, it is ‘Royal Jubilee’.
Do you like its perfect globes of flowers? Are you tempted to stick your finger or nose into that hole? Do you like the scalloped petals that fold over so protectively? It can look up, but it likes to gaze downwards just as much. Here it is, meditating.
Each flower is just larger than a tennis ball. They open out slightly in the sun, and then get heavy as they age. They fit fatly in the hand.
I utterly love deadheading this rose. I wait until the flower has gone ponderous. The flowers pale slightly at this stage. I cup the flower in my hand. Sometimes that is just too much for it. It sighs and lets go its petals. There is a little sound as it does so, and the petals land heavily in my palm. Then I plop it in my bucket. And the petals shower down.
I like to make a sport of throwing the deadheads in the bucket. I was rubbish at netball at school, but clearly I hadn’t found my motivation. Now I can shoot roses at the waiting bucket, my goal-scoring record is prodigious. I rarely miss.
If I do, I fail spectacularly. The petals fly off in mid-air like a fat dove exploding.
The rate of blooming is incredible. These three shrubs will easily fill a bucket if I deadhead every other day.
When this first, middle flower goes limp and heavy, out come my snippers. It is so satisfying. Then the surrounding crown of fat buds have room to breathe.
Very occasionally I will snip the wrong stem and get a bud instead. I utter a mortified apology. But this rose is very gracious, and never sulks. Look at its beatific glow!
‘Royal Jubilee’ has lovely foliage, edged with maroon. This is a tall shrub rose, about my height. I prune it back to a metre in January, and up it rises. It is magnificent.
The only problem I have ever encountered with this rose in three years of growing it, is this:
It seems to have been hole-punched. Whatever gave it these polka-dots must have munched through when it was a tight little bud, and when it has opened out the hole is repeated. I used to love doing this with paper, to make doilies. I applaud the creative endeavour. And it makes a nice change.
I should mention that the rose petals have a papery texture. This took me by surprise when it first flowered. I was expecting something silken. Variety is the spice of life though, and I now wouldn’t have it any other way.
And the scent? Oh my stars! The flowers are at head-level. They exhale and I get the fumes.
I am quite overcome. If I had to do a drug-test I would fail. I am intoxicated.