Mystery rose: Buff Beauty

Buff Beauty rose

It’s a real pleasure for me when one of my favourite mystery roses is identified. These are ones I have visited and photographed, perhaps several times, but haven’t yet managed to put a name to.

These pictures were taken in a cemetery in Mississippi where hundreds of shrub roses are planted. Many of them don’t just survive, but flower prolifically, despite receiving little or no care.

This rose shrugs off the challenging conditions to produce a succession of richly fragrant blooms. The plant has a shrubby, arching form: some of the growth is a bit twiggy since it’s been left to its own devices so long.

Buff Beauty rose

But it’s doing wonderfully well, despite having no spraying or watering from year to year, negligible pruning and little or no food, other than that which it forages for itself in the rich Mississippi dirt.

The roses are not labeled, so I appealed for the name to my sweetheart who planted many of them, though it’s one I should really have known all along:  a Hybrid Musk rose called Rosa ‘Buff Beauty’. The plant was supplied some years ago by the Antique Rose Emporium.

If I was looking for a word to describe the colour, ‘buff’ wouldn’t have been the one. The first flush of flowers have a wonderful, soft apricot-gold sheen, though the blooms still valiantly clinging on to life at this stage, after November’s first frosts, have less petals and are smaller and paler. I’m sharing some pictures of the April flowers today.

Buff Beauty rose

This rose either thrives on neglect, or will be truly amazing when given a little more care. I checked on Help Me Find (a website for lovers of roses, clematis and peonies) and was not surprised to see it rated as excellent for zones 5b to 10. It can be grown as a shrub or a mannerly climber.

I’ll be posting a few more of my ‘mystery roses’ soon to see if any rose experts in the blogging community can do me a great kindness and help me name them.

Shakespeare has his romantic heroine, Juliet, say:

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

That’s very true, yet there’s a certain pleasure in putting a name to a rose – or a picture of one.

Buff Beauty.



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