Reviewing Rose Possibilities

Botanical-illustrationsIt is now June and the classic flower of the month in England is usually considered to be the rose. Apart from the fact that I still have endless weekends of internal decoration to attend to, and, as I type, I am manfully ignoring one entire room left in an almost derelict state, I have started to think about the garden.

I realise one way and another I have missed this year for some of my flowering favourites such as the hellebores, tulips, aquilegias, irises and roses not to mention a flowering fruit tree or two. However, now is not the time to moan, but to get on and get planning. It is a good time to think ahead as although quite a few container grown roses are now out of stock for this season, they can still be ordered for delivery as bare root plants for this coming autumn and winter. Naturally, recent evenings have been spent perusing my old copy of ‘The Graham Stuart Thomas Rose Book’ in the hunt for suitable roses for very small gardens.

Graham-Stuart-Thomas-go-to-rose-bookAlthough I do love many of the old fashioned shrub roses that I have grown in the past not all of them are as robust as some of the more recent introductions such as rosa Queen Elizabeth (1954, see below) or the David Austin rose, rosa St Swithun (1993, above right).

Modern-hybrid-tea-Queen-ElizabthCurrently, I am tending towards a thornless, reliable modern climber for my very tiny front patch, possibly the David Austin climbing rose, rosa Mortimer Sackler (2002). It needs to be thornless as it will eventually top the boundary wall at waist height between my property and a side passage used as the rear access for my neighbours.

Rosa Mortimer Sackler introduced by David Austin 2002. Photo: David Austin website

Mind you I have been tempted by Stuart Thomas’s comments on rosa Agnes, “Unusual with delicious scent”, but despite the appealing name (😉) I don’t feel I can fit a yellow rose, even this pale, muddled beauty, into the planting scheme.


It is a while since I have taken my copy of the Rose Book off the shelf. Indeed, it has been boxed up with all the rest of my books for the last 18 months during the moving process and consequently I was surprised when a slip of paper fell out. As I picked it up expecting it to be a now redundant list of roses from my last garden, I noticed with curiosity that it was a poem. One of my favourites originally copied out over 15 years ago.



Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

15 thoughts on “Reviewing Rose Possibilities”

    1. Yes that’s perceptive of you. I have missed being outside and active in the garden. Looking forward to seeing more of your en plein air work.

  1. I’m someone who’s glad other people grow roses, so I don’t have to. Their flowering time is often so limited that they present a problem for those times when they are not. But I love seeing other people’s, especially scrambling up old and characterful brick walls, or over ancient pergolas. Long live roses! Just …. not my roses.

    1. Ah, but Margaret you can’t cut other people’s roses and have the double joy of the blooms looking gorgeous and perfuming your home too albeit for only a short while.

  2. We have seen fabulous roses on this trip. It was the Rose Festival while we were in Portland. Another flower that has captivated me is the peony. I’ve often sent them depicted in Chinese art, but don’t remember seeing the actual flower before. Lovely to think of you spending a quiet evening curled up on the sofa,flicking through your rose catalogue.

    1. I should think roses grow very well in Portland as I think they have plenty of rain don’t they? And, yes peonies are very beautiful especially all those frills on the doubles. Looks like you are having a fabulous trip and meeting loads of Aussies 😄 as usual!!! 😁

  3. I agree Agnes – it being able to live with a rose and see it in all its moods which really brings the joy! Lovely pics, and you have made me want to buy that Graham Thomas book to see his recommendations. I am already addicted to DA roses, but find them endlessly fascinating.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I strongly recommend the Graham Stuart Thomas book as it is packed with so much information if you are interested in roses.

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