Rosa ‘Scepter’d Isle’ at Bodnant Garden

Pink rose with chalice shaped blooms

Rosa ‘Scepter’d Isle’ caught my eye during our visit to Bodnant Garden in Wales this week. The garden opens until 8 o’clock in the evening some Wednesdays during the summer (please check details online before visiting) so we could arrive fashionably late and still enjoy a (very) warm evening stroll.

We had planned to go a week or so earlier – given the choice, I prefer to catch the roses slightly before their peak when they are at their freshest, before the garden has time to need dead-heading. Winds gusting at 35-40mph put paid to that idea. Although the rose garden was a touch further on, it was still looking lovely, with rambling roses in flower on the many pergolas.   Continue reading

An English Rose: Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’

A pink, multi-petalled rose in a sunny garden

Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’ displays its many petals against a floral backdrop

I’m surprised to find out this is the first time I’ve blogged about one of my favourite rose varieties. Some roses are easier to photograph than others. This is the only picture I have that I like of this one. Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’ is luminous. Photograph it in flat light and you risk losing the joy.

The main bloom is as big as my hand and deeper than I can cup my fingers. The sheeny quality of the petals and their highlights and lowlights of pink and peach create an inner glow. The garden context glows too, adding that all’s well with the world feeling.   Continue reading

Roses at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Rosa 'A Shropshire Lad'

My sweetheart and I were counting our lucky stars earlier this week to have the chance to preview the wonderful RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. If you follow my blog, you’ll not be surprised that almost my first point of call was to catch up with some of my old buddies who were doing some nervous, last minute petal tweaking (always a massive temptation) on the David Austin display moments before the judges arrived. I didn’t think they had too much to worry about. Continue reading

Desdemona – a new white English rose for 2015

Desdemona rose

I took my first picture of Rosa ‘Desdemona’ when I popped in to hug some dear friends working on the David Austin rose display at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. Their new white English rose for 2015 was named to commemorate one of Shakespeare’s most independent, open-hearted and gentle heroines: an inspired choice!

Large fans were keeping the air circulating in the nearby Floristry Marquee to prevent the cut flowers wilting, but there was no such luxury in the Festival of Roses Marquee. The conditions were cruelly hot for humans to endure, but to my surprise, the roses appeared to relish being held captive inside a tent on the hottest July afternoon ever recorded in England.  Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Off Season

Rose-garden-just-leafing-out

A rose garden is a still, expectant place in England in late May. These shrub roses are lush, just budding out, pruned low. The young, bronze tinted foliage (characteristic of some varieties) gives the first hint of colour among the shades of green. The box and yew hedging is trimmed into shape: the bare bones of the garden are on show. For rosarians, this is an exciting time, not just because of the life emerging everywhere, every day, but in anticipation of the flowers (and visitors) that will soon change everything.  Continue reading