Rose Bloom With Raindrops (And Did I Meet A Queen?)

Rose bloom with raindrops

I’ve hesitated to share this picture of a rose, even though it’s one of my favourites. The colour, though attractive, is not typical, which is why I’ve not provided the variety name on the picture file. It may seem like a harsh assessment of a flower, but this one is too apricot. This variety is supposed to be pink, though admittedly with a good hint of apricot. This one is apricot with the merest touch of pink.

I would hope most people are at this point thinking – ‘Why on earth would anyone prevaricate about whether a rose is pink, apricot or somewhere in the middle? It’s a very nice looking rose. I’d be happy to have it in my garden. Just let it be’. Quite. But for many gardeners (and brides), the shade does matter. They want a white rose to be white, not cream, and a red rose to be red, not pink. Simples, as the meerkats would say.

The rose picture always reminds me of an exchange that was on the surreal side, but not untypical of my working life at the time. During Press Day at the Chelsea Flower Show, I was helping visitors who wanted information about the roses – mainly press or celebrities. One lady asked where she could find Rosa ‘Queen of Sweden’. I took her over to the rose. I knew it well – it has a very distinct habit and flower shape – and it was also neatly labelled with the variety name. I confess to feeling a faint flush of happiness because I’d been able to help so easily.

Non-too-pleased, she advised me that it was not her rose – it couldn’t be. It was pink and hers was more apricot.

I explained that forcing a rose to flower earlier than normal may have a strange effect on the colour of the flowers and may make the plant more leggy. As I was speaking, I was thinking, ‘Is this the Queen of Sweden, then?… Probably not, though this is Press Day at Chelsea – anything can happen… Which Queen of Sweden was it named for, I wonder?’.

I’ll never know. What I do know is that the Rosa ‘Queen of Sweden’ pictured above is as apricot as anyone could hope for. Even apricotter, if you’ll forgive the liberty.

I’ll leave you with a Rosa ‘Queen of Sweden’ looking more like herself:

Rosa 'Queen of Sweden'

23 Replies to “Rose Bloom With Raindrops (And Did I Meet A Queen?)”

  1. Thanks for sharing these pictures. I like both roses and while an unusual colour I think it’s very pretty. I would give it space in my garden

    1. It’s got a real interior glow, like a floral version of a furnace. I don’t think the colour shift is down to the camera or the lighting. Looking back, I wonder if it might have been a sport.

    1. If it was the real Queen, she certainly moves around London a lot more freely than ours does. I can’t think it would have been as there is a special time when members of the royalty can look around a bit later.

    1. Now, I wouldn’t have made that connection, though they are both English roses. She is so small and self-possessed while he’s much larger and more flamboyant.

  2. I love “apricotter”! Though I understand the importance of true color, I also know that sometimes color is in the eye of the beholder and so “true” might not be. I’d have no objection whatsoever to having any of the above hues in my garden. They are wonderful. And may I have a clue, please, as to the significance of “simples” and meerkats?

    1. The British have taken a series of adverts to their hearts starring cuddly toy style meerkats that speak with Eastern European accents. ‘Simples’ is their word for ‘easy’, usually said with a wink and a cheery dimple (though the dimples and winks might just be in my imagination). They have their own website, which I can remember, which shows that constant advertising over several years costing many millions of pounds does work (to a point):

      1. Thank you! I can now say I’ve seen a meerkat cravat! I am sure the dimples and winks are genuine, and I’m ever so grateful to have been introduced to these hilarious characters. What genius!

    1. When you are offering 50 or so pink roses for sale, most of them doubles, you naturally end up being quite pernickety about their differences. The top one is what a statistician might call an outlier.

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