Dramatic Roses


Apart from their gorgeous scents and colours, the most dramatic thing about these beautiful roses in our front garden has been their recovery. Remember this? Well, after weeks and months of feeding with slow-release fertiliser, spraying with organic vegetable-based insecticide, mulching with Emily’s poo, obsessive picking off of aphids, careful light pruning of dead and diseased branches, clearing away fallen leaves, and hundreds of watering cans full of water, they have rewarded all efforts and cossetting with these gorgeous, fragrant flowers. I only wish this was smellovision so you too could experience the beautiful, subtle scents that are wafting round our front garden.


I am especially pleased with this young little floribunda rose, ‘Friends Forever’, which I planted in this gap back in the spring.



Unfortunately I do not know the names of our other roses, as they were already well established when we moved here. I’m not sure how easy it is to identify roses from pictures, but if anyone can identify any of these, I’d be so happy to hear from you.

The first one inside our front gate is this pretty subtle yellow rose with the faintest tinge of pink on the buds, the biggest rose shrub in the garden.



Next in is this dark red rose, still quite a sick plant, the sickest in fact, but flowering profusely just the same.



Then there is the white rose by the front door. This smells just beautiful.




The last rose has no pictures for it is still to flower, although it has healthy buds on it that look to be red. This shrub was held back by a large sucker rising up from the roots. I did not know it was a sucker until I happened upon the term while reading the gardening section of a newspaper. Suckers pop up from the roots onto which the variety of rose was grafted, and take much energy away from the main plant. I have now removed this by tearing it off underground close to the roots. Already the plant seems happier.

The most important thing I have learned from these roses is not to give up on a plant when all seems lost. Only a short while ago I doubted these roses would survive, yet here they, alive and flourishing and giving such pleasure. Hard graft amply rewarded (pun intended)!

4 thoughts on “Dramatic Roses

  1. You need more than a picture of the flower to identify a rose. Have a look here
    where you will find descriptions of the size and shape of the rose bush as well as the flower and its scent.
    A bit of history:
    Post-war the wonderful old roses were not fashionable – they tended to be susceptible to disease and mostly only flowered once a year : after midsummer no more roses. I’m not certain but I think that in the 1950s floribunda roses were the thing : that is the sort of rose in the oval bed here, a shrub with several blowsy flowers to the stem. Mine are Masquerade, a startling and unsubtle blend of red and yellow, but there are more tasteful varieties. In the 1960s the most popular roses were hybrid tea (HT) roses, an elegant flower with neat pointy buds and largish flowers, usually just one to a stem. They are mostly scented and repeat flowering. Search David Austin for Just Joey for a good example (he doesn’t only sell his own roses). However HT roses are a bit stiff and formal. In my first garden in the mid-1970s I had three roses : a standard HT in a tub, Mme Pierre Oger – a nineteenth century bourbon rose – and rosa gallica officinalis, the Apothecary’s rose of immense antiquity. These were a mixed success : the HT was reliably OK, rosa gallica officinalis was breathtaking for about two weeks in June and to my sorrow Mme Pierre never produced a single flower. I cannot remember why I chose to leave the straight and narrow of HT reliability but it suggests that by then there was a movement away from them.
    David Austin was already at work, although still unknown – breeding roses from old-fashioned types to so as to achieve a more graceful flower, and concentrating on improving disease-resistance, scent and repeat-flowering. He called his new style of roses “English Roses” and they are very beautiful. I have lots. No doubt other rose breeders follow in Austin’s footsteps and not many floribundas or HTs are bought. Perhaps it is time the fashion changed again although it is hard to imagine anyone not loving the Austin style.
    None of your roses, with the possible exception of the white one, is an HT, but what they are I cannot say. You could send for the D Austin catalogue. It doesn’t illustrate everything but the pictures are better than on the web site (they are the same pictures but look better when printed).

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