‘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. It’s one of the most vigorous David Austin pink climbing roses. My sweetheart calls them mannerly climbers as none of them are monsters – unless you try to grow them in a hot climate as shrubs, when you may be in for a surprise!

  1. I have Generous Gardener, in a large pot set against a short sunny wall. I’m trying to see if it is happy there; if yes, I will install a trellis for it and make it a more permanent home. It will stay in the pot, though, as the location’s soil wouldn’t be very rose-friendly. What a beautiful rose it is — one of my favorite shades of pink!

    1. I hope it’s a really big pot! The colour has lots of lustre and complexity, given that it is so soft. You’ll be well placed to appreciate the fragrance.

      1. Yes, it is really big! My teenaged son had to move it for me. He may have to again, as I’m not sure it’s in the right location. And I have way more sun in my back yard since we had to take down a tall elm, so there may be more options there.

  2. I love that I have a fellow rose geek in my life. Thank you. I think I may just have fallen in love again with Rosa glauca. And yes please, do write the post about suckers!

    1. It’s not unheard of for someone to want their new rose replaced early in the season because all the branches have seven leaflets, so they assume it is all sucker.

  3. What a beautiful rose. I have a wonderful place for it but my past experience is that roses take more work then I can devote to just one flower in my almost too big garden. I took my previous roses out after the Japanese beetles ate the buds before I realized that the bushes had buds on them. I think it all happened in the middle of the night. 🙂

    1. Japanese beetles are very scary. I’ve killed several roses too, by leaving them to fend for themselves in large pots for too long. Luckily we can still enjoy roses in other people’s gardens.

    1. I often say it’s a very bad idea to buy a rose because of its name (how many married couples have room for a 30-40ft rambler, for example?) but I’d make an exception to the rule for this one.

    1. I’m sure you’ll have lots more pleasure to come. It always surprises me how long it takes for some of the species roses to get to a large size. Is Rosa glauca the same or do the seedlings reach a decent size quite quickly?

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