My sweetheart uses the term ‘mannerly climber’ to describe a rose that will climb rather than swamp any structure provided for it by human carers: if the rose produces a succession of elegant, petal-packed rosettes, that’s so much more courteous of it. Rosa ‘Bathsheba’ is a fine example of a mannerly climbing rose.
Pictures rarely tell the full tale of any plant, particularly not a rose. We miss out on the fragrance (strong, flowery myrrh, since you ask) and find it hard to judge the size of the flowers. These are large ones, with a hint of a button eye that becomes Bathsheba very well.
As you’ll see here, the rich apricot colour gradually softens and yellows as the flower matures.
A trellis, wall, tall fence, obelisk or pillar will display Rosa ‘Bathsheba’ to its best advantage.
Part of the preparation for any flower show is to produce neat labels – the judges have been known to deduct marks if some are missing, or so the rumour goes. I try to remember to take a picture of the label as well as the plant, but rarely share them.
I’ve often wondered whether everyone would understand that ‘Clg’ after a rose name means that the rose is a climber. Perhaps it is self-explanatory.
Every protected plant has a code-type appellation – the legal plant name. Being familiar with the minefield that is rose naming, from its earliest days, my website has carried a blanket statement to record that many plants are protected by patents and/or trademarks and to refer all questions about protection of specific varieties to the breeder’s websites.
Most gardeners ignore the appellation but by doing so, they’re sometimes missing a secret, hidden in plain sight. It’s not just a reliable way to identify the breeder: some English Roses have quirky appellations that will raise a smile of recognition or a groan.
Austin roses always start with Aus, a short code for the breeder. The appellation for Rosa ‘Bathsheba’ is Auschimbley, the second half of the code ‘chimbley’ suggesting that Bathsheba has always showed a propensity to climb, or grow like a chimney, chimbley being a dialect form of the word.
Other character-type appellations include Aushedge (R. ‘Wild Edric’), Austough (R. ‘Rosemoor’), Ausglobe (R. ‘Brother Cadfael’ has globe shaped flowers) and Aussemi (R. ‘The Herbalist’ is a semi-double).
So far so good: what’s the secret? Groan-inducing appellations include Auswife (R. ‘The Wife Of Bath’ – housewife); Ausencart (R. Benjamin Britten’ – horse and cart); Auschestnut (R. ‘St. Alban’); Ausky (R.’Mistress Quickly’); Auspishus (R. ‘Janet’), etc.
There is even an Ausufo (R. ‘Comtes de Champagne’).