The Rose Garden in June

Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - by Timothy Fraser

It is now approaching mid-June and the Rose Garden is full of old roses laden with flowers and their scent lies heavy in the early morning air. It is truly intoxicating!

Tuscany superb

A bust of Apollo, set in front of a formal beech hedge, gazes down on the Dionysian exuberance and excess of the planting around her. Nothing is held back – it is a romantic riot of foliage, flower and fragrance. Cardinal de Richelieu, an ancient gallica, is bursting out in rich, opulent, deep crimson purple.

Cardinal de Richelieu - a rich purple gallica rose 

Cardinal de Richelieu, a rich purple gallica rose

Nearby, the uniqueness of the rose, Reine des Violettes, offers a colour palette not found in any other rose – violet, lilac, silver, grey with hints of pink (just here and there). The name is well-deserved and she really is Queen of the Violettes! In keeping with her regal status, this old queen enjoys good living, so a generous dollop of compost in the winter is very beneficial and, being a hybrid perpetual rose, will ensure that her blooms will be repeating well into late summer.

Reine des Violettes with shades of Parma violet 

Reine des Violettes with shades of Parma violet

Comte de Chambord is one of the finest Portland roses, a Victorian rose raised in 1863, and is icing sugar pink – a good colour to counter-balance the predominant purples and to avoid the garden becoming ‘heavy’ with the deeper crimsons.


The Portland rose - 'Comte de Chambord'

Rosa gallica mundi is an ancient rose after "The Fair Rosamund" (or Rose of the World), famed for her beauty and a mistress of Henry II and pre-dates 1176.

Rosa gallica mundi

It is the striped sport of Rosa gallica officinalis – the apothecaries rose that, as of this year, grows happily in the Herb Garden.

Belle de Crecy is one of the finest gallica roses. Its flowers give off a wonderful succession of tints – opening blooms are cerise pink mixed with mauve; later, turning to Parma violet, and then to lavender grey. To watch this metamorphosis emerging is remarkable to witness; and then to watch the echo of this transformation each and every day, while the flowers display, is just wonderful!

rosa Belle de Crecy

Gallica rose Belle de Crecy

Another of our ancient roses, Tuscany superb, has suddenly awoken in recent days and decided to join the party. Reflecting every word of its common name, the ‘Velvet Rose’, it is truly sumptuous and seductive and its petals feel like luxurious velvet.


Tuscany superb

As it belongs to the gallica group of roses, it flowers for only one glorious month. But for that month, we are furnished with a feeling of pure decadence.

Rosa Sissinghurst Castle

Rosa Sissinghurst Castle is an ancient gallica rose, which was discovered growing amongst nettles and brambles by Vita Sackville-West. Vita rescued it and helped to bring it back into nursery circulation in 1947. It produces lovely, deep plump flowers. No-one is certain of its original name, but many believe it to be ‘Rose des Maures’.

A China rose - rosa moyessi geranium 

A Chinese rose - rosa moyessi geranium - purest of reds

Common moss rose 

Common moss rose

rosa glauca with grey foliage 

rosa glauca with grey foliage

allium christophii 

allium christophii combines and contrasts well with other plants in the rose garden

Their leaves die off before the bulbs flower so groundcover geraniumns and catmints are planted to hide the decaying foliage.

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Direct Link to this Comment heather - Saturday, July 04, 2015 00:27
Very interesting. Looking forward to the next post.
P.S. The photos are fantastic

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