‘The Generous Gardener’ Rose (Plus A Riff On Leaves)

Pale pink roses with double flowers

‘The Generous Gardener’ rose is one of my favourites. It requires some discipline not to list its selling points, even after so many years, but I’ll confine myself to observing that it is one of the more fragrant English roses, best grown as a short climber against a wall or sturdy pillar. That hardly counts, does it? 

You may think that rose foliage is all the same colour, and I’d have to concede that the umbrella term ‘green’ does cover it. If you’re a keen observer of all types of rose, you’ll be aware that their leaves vary more than they are given credit for.

Some varieties’ leaves are darker than others and the green may have more than a hint of blue, red or yellow. Rosa ‘The Generous Gardener’ has dark leaves with a touch of blue in them, helping to make the rose so easy on the camera. While it’s tempting to associate yellow leaves with sickly roses (suffering from chlorosis), many shrub roses’ leaves are naturally on the yellow side of green. Lovers of R. ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ (I’m thinking of you, Ali) will witness to the strong bronzy-red colouring of the stems and the emerging foliage. Then there’s Rosa glauca (below) which, setting the colour aside, helps demonstrate that leaves can be more or less neat, wrinkled, long, slender or serrated.

A single rose with long, slender, dark leaves

I’ve heard more than one rosarian go into rapture about the mattness of a rose’s leaves (Old Roses are more likely to have matt leaves and Hybrid Teas, shiny). One prevalent myth is that seven leaves indicates a sucker from the rootstock. If the rest of the rose has only five leaves, then that may well be true, but roses can have five, seven or nine leaflets and occasionally even more.

(Short pause while I restrain myself from writing more about suckers… or leaves). It would be fun (for me) to do a leaf post one day – I’ll file that in my to-do list, with a note it may be rather less interesting to everyone else!

For the next four Sundays, I’ll be sharing a square cropped picture of a pink rose as part of Becky’s Square In September challenge. It’s a daily challenge but we are cordially invited to dip in and out as we please. You’ll find the guidelines here, but in essence, she’s looking for a post where the main photograph is square and the subject is In The Pink. My original shot was landscape format, and I’d not have thought of cropping it this way without Becky’s prompt. The crop makes the picture more abstract, highlighting the interplay of light and shade on the petals and the leaves.

45 Replies to “‘The Generous Gardener’ Rose (Plus A Riff On Leaves)”

  1. These are such beautiful roses and to learn it is a fragrant one too, I am going to have to go to the garden centres in the spring!

  2. We can sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that roses are all about the flowers, but once you tune into the wonders of the foliage you open up a whole new level of engagement and enjoyment. Thank you Susan, I am going to take a leaf from your book and focus on foliage!

  3. All that and fragrant too? Unbelievable. What a pink! I can’t wait to see the pink posts to come. I don’t know much about roses and am very much interested in your observations about their leaves. The leaves of Rosa glauca are beauties. But what is that sprig photobombing behind the topmost petal? Lovely photos!

  4. I still prefer the hybrid tea roses. They are what I grew up with. There are a few that I wish I could find now. They seem to have become the old fashioned roses.

    1. If the hybrid teas thrive, you’ll find them growing somewhere and can ask for a cutting. If I lived in your part of the world, I’d fancy an ‘Iceberg’ hedge.

      1. Oh! ‘Iceberg’ is a floribunda, and one of my lesser favorites. It was WAY too popular for a long time, and displaced some of the hybrid tea roses. It works great in landscapes where the flowers are just there to look good, but not for cutting, (although the can be cut too).

  5. Susan, The Generous Gardener is my all time favourite rose. I initially planted it for a customer years ago, and now whenever there is the right space and someone says what would go well here, my comment is lets buy a Generous Gardener !

  6. Love the soft pink of The Generous Gardener. I have to admit soft-coloured roses are always my favourites and like many rose lovers, the more highly perfumed the better.

    1. I don’t like the colours to be too harsh, or too artificial, particularly cut roses. Funnily enough, I don’t mind whether roses are highly scented or not. If they are, it’s a bonus – if not, you can always plant them beside a lily.

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