Love the smell of roses? Here are five of the best varieties to plant for a fragrant garden, as chosen by the experts at David Austin Roses
Roses are beautiful, but they have also been bred over years to be one of the flowers with the most complex and evocative smells, as well as the widest variety of them. When planting them, it can be just as satisfying to plan for fragrance as it can for looks, and with that in mind, we asked Paul Constantine, marketing manager of expert cultivators David Austin Roses, to name his five favourites for smell.
With an honorary mention to his favourite, Kew Gardens (Ausfence) – “whilst it’s not noted for its fragrance it’s thornless, so great for where my kids tend to play the most and having small, single blooms tends bounce back more easily from regular football attacks!” – here’s what Paul singled out to plant for a sweet-smelling garden that looks just as good.
Types of roses
Gabriel Oak (Auscrowd)
“A magnificent variety,” says Paul, “bearing large, many petalled rosette blooms. They are a striking shade of deep pink, the outer petals of each bloom paling slightly over time. The beauty of the blooms is enhanced by a wonderful, strong fruity fragrance. A vigorous rose; it forms a very shapely, broad, rounded shrub with mulberry purple stems and dark green foliage, giving the overall impression of richness and abundance. It’s named after the beloved character in Thomas Hardy’s novel Far from the Madding Crowd, and was bred by David Austin in 2019.”
Gertrude Jekyll (Ausbord) (Shrub or Climbing)
“Always one of the first English Roses to start flowering, its perfect scrolled buds open to large, rosette-shaped flowers of bright glowing pink. The beautiful, perfectly balanced Old Rose scent is often described as being the quintessential Old Rose fragrance. A vigorous rose, it will form a medium-sized, upright shrub. Gertrude Jekyll was named for the famous garden designer and author; the rose was bred by David Austin in 1986.”
“Peachy pink buds open to beautiful, white, chalice-shaped blooms, with a pinkish hue – the incurved petals create an arresting interplay of light and shadow. The strong Old Rose fragrance has hints of almond blossom, cucumber and lemon zest, and it forms a most attractive neat, rounded, bushy shrub.”
The Generous Gardener Climbing (Ausdrawn)
“This rose bears beautifully formed flowers,” says Paul, “which nod gracefully on the stem. When the petals open they expose numerous stamens, providing an almost water lily-like effect. The flowers are a pale, glowing pink and have a delicious fragrance with aspects of Old Rose, musk and myrrh.”
The Poet’s Wife (Auswhirl)
“This rose bears rich yellow flowers, which pale over time. Their formation is most pleasing, having a neat outer ring of petals enclosing an informal group of petals within. There is a strong, wonderfully rich fragrance with a hint of lemon, which becomes sweeter and stronger with age. It forms a bushy, nicely rounded shrub with arching branches and rather shiny foliage.”
This story originally appeared on House & Garden UK