Saturday, 7 June 2014


There's something very special about roses. They are very close to my heart, and are many people's favourite flower. They are so evocative of summer, making us think of summer weddings, country gardens, perfumed bouquets and, of course, romance. They have been appreciated and collected for thousands of years and have a long, rich history.

 Poets have written about them, from Robert Burns' 'My luve's like a red, red rose' to D H Lawrence's 'full-blown yellow Gloire de Dijon roses'. Medieval poets wrote songs about them, such as 'There is no rose of swych vertu' (anon c 1450), and Shakespeare famously referred to them in Romeo & Juliet: 'What's in a rose? That which we call a rose /By any other name would smell as sweet'.

In June the roses are at their peak, and most of ours are in flower now. The garden is at its most perfumed in this month and on a warm evening their scent hangs in the air. I try to drink it in, making the most of it and wishing I could store it up for the long winter months. I've managed to squeeze a few roses into our garden, and some were already here when we moved in, like New Dawn which climbs up our front wall. It's such a delicate pink, and with a sweet fragrance.

There's also this lovely rich yellow rose which I think may be Graham Thomas. It's not very strongly scented, but the flowers are very full and cup-shaped.

This one is my favourite. I think it's Gertrude Jekyll, and its blooms are exquisite - very full, with many folded petals in a deep, clear pink. Best of all is its perfume. It's very strong and sweet, and reminds me of Turkish Delight. 

I love its shape as the bud opens up, like an elegant goblet.

There's also a little rose which we refer to simply as Gran's Rose. This is because it was taken from a rose bush which belonged to my great-grandmother by my parents, who are keen rose-growers, and given to me. She died aged 97 when I was 3 and, although it's not a spectacular rose, I am very fond of it.

This gorgeous peach-coloured rose was also given to us by my parents, and I've managed to forget what it was called, but its colour is so very pretty. They also recently gave us a rose called William Shakespeare which will flower a bit later on. I can't wait to see it in bloom!

Here is the apricot rose in a vase with a red climbing rose which grows over the back of our garage. (This photograph was taken last year - our lavender isn't out yet).

Growing over an arch is Compassion, which is pinky-apricot in colour. Its scent is quite light and fruity, and the centre has the most lovely stamens. 

On the other side of the arch is Etoile de Hollande which has deep red blooms with a strong, heavy fragrance. I love it, but it's flowers are so heavy they always droop.

We recently bought Mortimer Sackler, which is another climber. This one is a very graceful plant with open, cup-shaped flowers and a delicate scent.

I love its buds and leaves which are very elegant and twirly.

This is a pretty rose which was here when we moved in. It's small with lots of tiny pink flowers, and no perfume.

I spotted some more beautiful roses in the Botanical Gardens in Bath recently. It was a warm, sunny day and I took the opportunity to photograph some different varieties. Here's a gorgeous moss rose - the stems and sepals are covered in a scented 'moss'. You can see it very clearly in this photo, and I think it's very attractive.

Here it is in bloom, with a bright yellow centre.

Here's the centre of a pretty cream-coloured rose, with stamens that remind me of the centre of an anenome.

And this is a wild rose, also known as dog-rose or, my favourite name, eglantine. This is the rose which all the other varieties originate from, and I love it for its simplicity. Delicately scented, and with five pink-tinged petals, it can be found climbing through hedgerows at this time of year. 

Well, this has been a long post, hasn't it? I could talk all day about roses, and there's so much to learn about them, but I think I'll stop there, and pop outside for another sniff of that wonderful scent.
See you soon x

P.S. You can find out more about old rose varieties at David Austin Roses - there are so many to choose from, and they're all gorgeous!


  1. This is beautiful Cathy, I could almost smell the roses whilst reading! xx

    1. Thank you for visiting and commenting, Jane! xx


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