Getting to know you…

A rose is a long-term investment.

There is a substantial layout initially.

A good hole should be dug (I love digging holes), and timed so that they are just ready for your bare-root rose to arrive in November.  When you see that magical brown-paper bag waiting by the door when you get home from work, you know dinner is going to be late that night.

You spread out the roots, just so, and start to sprinkle the mixture of soil and compost (or well-rotted manure) on top.  The shovelling gets more confident as you check your level (the bud-union being just below the level of the soil).  You firm it in first with fists, then with wellies.  And give it a good drink.

Then you sit and wait for six months.

There’s Christmas of course; that keeps you going.  And snowdrops and crocuses are sweet.  Daffodils, of course.  Tulips, yes.

But you really want to see the rose.

And then one magical day in June, it is here.

It is the start of a love-affair.  This isn’t a quick fling.  You have made a commitment.  For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, til death do us part.

But for now I am in the honeymoon period.  Did I mention that I am polygamous?

So here are my six new roses.  Let us hope it won’t be (like Henry VIII) ‘Divorced, Beheaded, Died.  Divorce, Beheaded, Survived’.

1. Rosa ‘Young Lycidas’

He was a bit slow to get going, but this is a marathon, not a sprint.  The petals have the papery texture of ‘Royal Jubilee’.  They are a fetching purple, fairly uniform at first.

Rosa ‘Young Lycidas’ with morning dew.

Then as they get some sun, and age, they take on some more nuanced tones.  There is fading at the centre, and deeper plum towards the outer petals.  I like the depths.  I always like a rose to have depth.

Rosa 'Young Lycidas'
Rosa ‘Young Lycidas’

And then he did something unexpected.  Something rather marvellous.  This happened:

Rosa 'Young Lycidas' (3)
Rosa ‘Young Lycidas’ having a court jester moment.

It’s just the one flower.  How delightful.  On closer inspection, each petal is split down the middle: white on one half, purple-pink on the other.  I hope he has more tricks like this up his sleeve.  I like the element of surprise.

He smells gorgeous too.  He is described in my David Austin book as “pure tea, then tea and old rose, cedar wood”.  There is definitely something rich and resinous there.  I love him.  He can stay.

2. Rosa ‘Boscobel’

He was straight off the starting blocks.  How could you not be intrigued by a fat little egg like this?

Rosa 'Boscobel' (3)
Rosa ‘Boscobel’

And when the egg hatched, Boscobel did not disappoint.  Here he is, still very new. Look at him, all dewy-eyed and glowing from within.

Rosa 'Boscobel' (5)
Rosa ‘Boscobel’

Then basking in the sun with me:

Rosa 'Boscobel'
Rosa ‘Boscobel’

Today he smells of aniseed balls.  He can most definitely stay.

3. Rosa ‘Lady of Megginch’

This is an impressive one.  She has the biggest buds in the garden.

Rosa 'Lady of Megginch' (3)
Rosa ‘Lady of Megginch’

She has an air of competence.  She’s got this.

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

Some would be threatened by her size.  Her vivid colour (brightest coral-pink to light magenta).  Her confidence and competence.  I like her.  She can stay.

She smells vaguely of raspberry.  She doesn’t need to try that hard, she knows she’s good.

4. Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’

Now this is a rose I ummed-and-ahhhed about.  I thought it might be a bit fuddy-duddy.  A bit Grandma.  I’m always wary of pink roses that have any hint of yellow.  They make me feel queasy.  Something to do with fruit punch and Cinzano in my youth, which we don’t need to go into.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Behold:

Rosa 'Jubilee Celebration' (2)
Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’

It is a combination of petal shape, with those pointed tips, and the pine-cone formation.

Rosa 'Jubilee Celebration' (4)
Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’

It starts out quite peachy, but becomes more pink.  The tips of the petals turn back, giving a ruffled rosette.  It has a soft and creamy, silken texture.  And a swirl at the centre.  Oh, it is dreamy.  Yes.  That’s it.  It is the most tranquil rose I know.  I feel a sense of peace and wellbeing just looking on it.  It is re-aligning my chakras.

Rosa 'Jubilee Celebration'
Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’

We all need one of these.  There is no question but this one is here to stay.

5. Rosa ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’

This was another one I wavered over.  And then I saw her in the flesh and my mind was made up.  You can see why.  She is another one with soft, silky petal texture.  She has an opulence that is unrivalled.

Rosa 'Princess Alexandra of Kent'
Rosa ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’

She mingles beautifully with all her partners. I am growing her with Erodium manescavii, Geranium psilostemon, Geranium versicolour and Phlox paniculata ‘Europa’. She looks fabulous with all of them.

Rosa 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' (1)
Rosa ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’ with Erodium manescavii

6. Rosa ‘Princess Anne’

And finally, ‘Princess Anne’.  This has the most intriguing pink.  It starts out glowing pink, with maybe even a hint of peach at the centre.

Rosa ‘Princess Anne’

The petals are beautifully curved and scalloped, with almost pale picotee edging.  They take on a violet tone in the middle of the petal.

Rosa ‘Princess Anne’

They are held in generous bouquets: each flower catches the light slightly differently.

Rosa ‘Princess Anne’

They get even more purplish just before the petals drop.  I love her.  She too can stay.

I should say that for all these new roses, it is difficult to assess them on health, vigour and growth habit at this stage.  Give me a couple of years, and I will get back to you.

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.

31 Comments Add yours

  1. They are worth the wait – lovely flowers there

  2. Angela says:

    Fabulous post.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you, Angela!

  3. Heyjude says:

    You really are a temptress with all these roses. I like ‘Boscobel’ and ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’ – lovely shapes and colours.

    1. Ali says:

      ‘Boscobel’ is possibly my favourite…

  4. pattyanneart says:

    Absolutely beautiful!! 💗

  5. bcparkison says:

    They are all lovely. Does Princess Anne’s bouquet flower all together or does one come out as the next fades away?

    1. Ali says:

      They overlap, so in a spray of six, three will open first and the next day three more.

  6. gaiainaction says:

    Absolutely wonderful Ali.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you! (Glowing)

  7. Ali your roses are beautiful!!!!! The Jubilee Celebration is my favorite!!!!!

    1. Ali says:

      It is sublime, isn’t it?

  8. I could almost smell them.

    1. Ali says:

      I did that the other day when reading a post! I got a little whiff!

  9. The second part of your post felt a bit like a rose fashion show, to me. I really enjoyed it. I also love that you see some roses as male and some as female. I tend to think of them all as female, which is so unfair to the roses!

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, I tend to go with the name, though some are gender neutral! I am trying to avoid all stereotyping, but you don’t realise what unconscious bias you have until you really start to examine it! My teenage children now pull me up on it!

  10. Penny Post says:

    I can now confirm you are a very bad influence on me. Last Friday I found myself drawn to the roses in the garden centre at Fountains Abbey and started drooling over the rose Dame Judi Dench. Whilst common sense prevailed I’m now itching to get on with the next stage of my garden’s development just so I can order it and I haven’t finished this year’s clearing work yet!

    1. Ali says:

      I’m hoping to meet her (the rose) at next week’s RHS Hampton Court. From photos, she looks lovely.

      1. Penny Post says:

        She is at every stage from first bloom to fully open with each stage looking different.

      2. Ali says:

        Oh, I love it when they change!

  11. Anonymous says:

    What fabulous reading!! I adore roses and have read many descriptions of individuals whilst pondering more choices but you’ve got it nailed – I was wondering about Princess Anne to plant in the autumn inside a low wooden fence. Thanks to you, I now have a plan – she will be joining my garden 😍

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you, I am very pleased to have helped!

  12. susurrus says:

    My favourites here are Princess Alexandra of Kent and Jubilee Celebration. Both big, blowsy, beautiful and wonderfully scented. Another that looks like one to watch is James L Austin. I liked its sheer flower power, colour intensity and flower form. You ought to be able to see it at Hampton Court – see what you think.

    1. Ali says:

      Fab. I will look out for it! I’m going to be spending a fair bit of time at the DA stand!

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