The rose that smells of apple tart

Imagine the finest, most delicate French apple tart. With the thinnest, crispiest base, and apples sliced translucent and thin, just caramelised on top, and with a hint of apricot glaze. Can you smell it?

Tuscany Superb: The Most Romantic Rose of All

It is one of my favourite sensory pleasures to hold the impossibly soft and tender rose in one hand and snip its bristly stem with the other. The petals are softer than anything I know: peach fuzz, babies’ bottoms, duck down: they are nothing to this rose. The spent flower fits perfectly into my hand. Its petals may suddenly let out a silent ‘oh!‘, let go of their calyx all at once. They drop into my waiting bucket, with a flurry of petal confetti. and glorious rose perfume.

The Elusive Benjamin Britten

‘Benjamin Britten’ is an intriguing rose.  Even David Austin himself says he finds the colour almost impossible to describe. I would call it a warm coral-red, which is quite bright and orangey on opening, but becomes a warm coral pink.  I might call it ‘watermelon’. The outer petals then fade unevenly, like vintage silk, being…

Comparing the growth habit of different roses

A reader asked if I could show photos of the growth habit of the David Austin English roses ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ and ‘Roald Dahl’.  I thought I would go the whole hog and write a post about the growth habit of all my roses. I do favour David Austin English roses because: they have the…

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,…

The Oldies

The David Austin English roses have been getting a lot of my attention, but I shouldn’t forget where it all began.  Many of the Plush, crimson English roses have Gallicas in their heritage. I grow three Gallica roses, ‘Charles de Mills’, ‘Tuscany Superb’ and ‘Sissinghurst Castle’. I grew ‘Charles de Mills’ at my old house.  Here…

Floriferous

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…

Portrait of a rose

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…