Rosa ‘Bathsheba’, An English Climbing Rose

Bathsheba climbing rose has large, apricot flowers

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.

Rosa Bathsheba

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RHS Rosemoor Garden’s Rose Festival: Heaven on Earth

RHS Rosemoor's shrub rose garden in full bloom

Rosemoor during the Festival of Roses, 2019

I can’t tell you how many years I’ve wanted to visit Rosemoor when the roses are in bloom, but I can show you why. People had told me there was a nice rose garden there, but I’d been withholding judgement on whether it was a truly great one until I could see it for myself.

Pink shrub rose with lychnis coronaria and penstemon

Shrub roses growing with lychnis coronaria and penstemon

I’ve long been aware that not all rose gardens truly delight me. It seems I have a demanding wants list: relatively few rose gardens can tick off everything I look for. Continue reading

Yellow Lady Banks’ Rose (Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’)

Rosa banksiae 'Lutea' in bloom against a wall at Kiftsgate

An old Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ at Kiftsgate Court Gardens with woody lower bark

When you see this rose in flower, Lady Banks’ Rose may fall easier to your lips than its botanical name, Rosa banksiae. There are several versions available (see the Q & A below), but my favourite is the double yellow form, ‘Lutea’, pictured here.

…it only flowers for about a month, but what a month!
– HOUZZ

Arching stems of Rosa banksiae 'Lutea' - the yellow Lady Banks' Rose

Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ is almost thornless with trailing growth

From a distance, a flowering Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ is like a pale yellow throw rug; up close, the flowers are small rosettes, held in graceful sprays. If not firmly tied up, the foliage seems to drip on long stems from the plant, creating a distinctive look. Continue reading

Rosa ‘Tuscany Superb’: A Crimson Purple Gallica Rose With A Classic Old Rose Scent

A semi-double dark crimson rose with golden stamens

Rosa ‘Tuscany Superb”s semi-double flowers are full enough to amply frame a central boss of golden stamens, lifted by glimpses of white around the eye. The petals have a rich, velvety character. You’ll see ‘Tuscany Superb’ described as maroon, purple, crimson, burgundy. I’ve contented myself with crimson-purple, but you can take your pick! As the flowers age, their colour darkens.

We have relatively few scented, crimson-purple rose varieties, and this one remains popular with those who are willing to grow roses that are summer flowering (the industry term for once-flowering). While some roses are grown as a thorny deterrent, ‘Tuscany Superb’ rose is prickly at best.

Depending on which expert you believe (in the absence of the luxury of having a bloom before you to savour), the fragrance is either medium or strong. Everyone agrees on its character, which is a classic Old Rose fragrance.  Continue reading

Rosa Chinensis ‘Viridiflora’: The Green Rose

Rosa chinensis 'Viridiflora' (The Green Rose)

Rosa chinensis ‘Viridiflora’, the green rose, is a curiosity that has small whorls of bracts in place of flowers. The bracts are like tiny leaves, with jagged edges and reddish tips and/or streaks. These examples were photographed at The Antique Rose Emporium, and are neater in form than some others I’ve seen. While never showy, the rose repeats well and has a light, peppery, spicy scent.

As it lacks true flowers, Rosa chinensis ‘Viridiflora’ is sterile. The rose has been traced back to 1845, but may be much earlier than that. Since the first chance mutation was noticed and admired enough to multiply, it has been kept in circulation by rooting or grafting.

Famously described as a little monstrosity when it was first exhibited in Paris, it is mostly grown by rosarians and used by florists.