Everyone has a favourite colour in roses: some love yellow roses, others hanker after deep, dusky reds. I have to confess a passion for blues and mauves but in any planting of these I would have to have some pinks too. Pink is the natural colour of European wild roses and it was not until Rosa foetida was introduced into the genetic mix that we were able to enjoy the oranges, golds and vermillion we now take for granted.
Above is You’re Beautiful (‘Frylucy’ Rose of the Year 2013) which is a neat cluster-flowered rose up to about 90cm. If you want a pink rose there are few better. It is resistant to disease, has large clusters of small to moderate flowers that have some scent. It is not excessively thorny and is good for cutting. The flowers do not have masses of petals and they open rather flat – they are most beautiful when half open. The colour is clean and fresh and it is a great bedding rose, flowering all summer right into autumn.
Tickled Pink (‘Fryhunky’ Rose of the Year 2007) – below – is similar and from the same source – Fryers roses – and has an upright habit with smaller clusters of equally lovely, fragrant flowers.
Though it is pretty ancient, The Fairy is still, deservedly popular. dating from 1932, this arching shrub has mid or pale green leaves and produces large, branching clusters of small, more or less scentless flowers. If hard pruned in spring it takes a while to build up a head of steam and start flowering but when it does it blooms non-stop right into autumn – I have some flowers still hanging on now in the garden as I write. It is a bit too tall for ground cover, reaching 1m but is good in a border and it is also worth getting as a standard when it will make a wonderful cascade of colour. Although pretty resistant to disease it can get some blackspot in wet seasons.
The most disease-resistant and toughest roses include the various forms of Rosa rugosa. Fru Dagmar Hastrup (there are various spellings) dates from 1874 and is a wonderful, fragrant rose that flowers all summer and has the big hips you associate with the species.
This Asian species grows wild by the coast and below you can see it naturalised in the sand dunes at Southport.
Cecile Brunner is a French rose dating back to 1881 and the tea rose in its ancestry has helped to give the very small flowers their distinctive fragrance. In America it is sometimes called the Sweetheart rose.
It is a small leaved and small flowered rose that reaches about 1m high but it is usually seen as the climbing form which reaches four times that and makes a lovely wall covering with a flush of main flowers and a few later on.
Belle de Crecy is one of those roses that makes people swoon with its old-fashioned looks and heady perfume. Of course there is payback for this beauty and that is rather dull leaves that can get disease and just one flush of flowers. Dating back to 1848 it reaches about 1.5m.
La Ville de Bruxelles is a Damask rose with sumptuous, intensely fragrant flowers. Hailing from 1849 this one also has just one flush of flowers that will make you deleriously happy in June and July.
It would be churlish not to mention English Roses having just shown two old roses. These creations that combine the beauty and perfume of old roses with the continuous blooming of modern roses have become very popular and the introduction of the latest English Roses is the highlight of the big summer flower shows. A Shropshire Lad (Ausled 1996) is one of the few climbers and it has a lot going for it. It is resistant to disease, reaches a a manageable 3m, has a rich, tea scent, few thorns and flowers all summer.
It is probably a good alternative to the ever-popular Albertine. Lovely though this super-scented rose is, it is very thorny, is a martyr to mildew and only flowers once.