Simply the rose

“There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.”

[Ralph Waldo Emerson]

A celebration this week, if you will, of the roses of my garden. I have six, all but one of them bought from David Austin in the days when my tastes were all for flouncy, feminine, pink double or apricot flowers. It’s funny how tastes change, and currently I prefer the single roses, especially even the wild roses like the dog rose, Rosa canina. If I were to plant my garden again, I would include more of the simple roses. But I am content with these that I have, for they are as beautiful as can be in their first flush.


I moved these roses in November of 2017 from the shaded, parched soil of our front garden where they had been suffering from the peregrinations of the privet hedge’s roots. Their new home is the back garden, where they now receive a good 6 hours of daylight and a much better soil. They have rewarded me with a fine first flush, although it was a bad year to move anything. I wasn’t to know that we were about to enter such a dry summer, and perhaps would have thought twice if I had.


I managed a rose or two from each of the six of my roses: ‘Tess of the D’Urbevilles’ is the dark ruby red. ‘The Lady Gardener’ is an apricot pink, a slightly more simple flower than the pale pink ‘A Shropshire Lad’. The white rose is ‘Tranquility’, while ‘Boscobel’ is not sure what colour it is, and nor am I. Over-smoked salmon? Old dame’s lipstick? Rio sunset? David Austin’s website describes it as coral-pink, with ‘numerous small petals, of varying shades’ mingling together. Finally, at the very bottom left is a rose from our local garden centre called ‘Many Happy Returns’ (see what they did there?) in palest waxy pink, a simpler rose that more reflects my evolving tastes, and just too pretty for words, but sadly scentless.

This is the prancing petticoats style of arrangement I possibly had in mind when I chose my David Austin roses almost four years ago (I also had in mind ancient houses with fat pink roses over mullioned windows, and other romantic, whimsical scenes that are hard to recreate in a Victorian city tenement). The whole thing was good fun to set up, really it was, and definitely worth the ticking off I got from my husband when the petals collapsed with great drama and tragedy onto the floor below, where they stayed for several days.


In a vase on Monday is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, and I recommend following the link to see what she and many other garden bloggers across the world have found to put in a vase today.



11 thoughts on “Simply the rose

  1. Oh such fulsome and delicious beauties Joanna. I imagine that there’s glorious scent too. Who knew in November what this summer would bring? ‘Boscobel’ is new to me this year. I must admit to liking the colour of the emerging buds more than the fully opened flowers. I like the simple roses too especially rosa glauca and rosa rubignosa. The foliage of the latter has foliage that smells like stewed apples – a scent which is more pronounced in mild damp conditions. It sadly has not had the chance to shine this summer.

  2. What flouncy ladies you have here, Joanna! I am glad they are doing tolerably well despite the timing of their move and hopefully by next year they will have been well watered in and will flower long and copiously. How is the brickwork and the maze doing…?

  3. The roses make a scrumptious mix. I love roses of all types but they don’t seem to like the drought conditions that have plagued Southern California for years now and I’ve been tempted to pull the few I inherited with the garden out. (Maybe if I threaten that often enough, they’ll jump to before it happens…)

  4. I still love David Austins. But my taste is other things is becoming more simple, as I find myself starting to dislike “double” anything. I wonder if I will outgrow these. Do you still like peonies and dahlias?

  5. I agree, I love single roses. But your flouncy, frilly ladies are beautiful. Many Happy Returns is pretty although I am allergic to its name. When I started gardening here the roses all had names like Happy Anniversary, Memories of a Golden Afternoon, Many Happy Returns and Happy Memories. It seems every rose was chosen for its name to commemorate a birthday or anniversary. What a daft reason to choose a rose.

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