A quick glance through my rose posts will show that I have very catholic tastes. There are few roses that I don’t like, and there are lots more that I love. But, as with all the plants I like, some quirk or oddity will get my attention. Many years ago, when visiting CK Jones Roses near Manchester, UK, for a feature, I was wandering the rose fields in full bloom and a few roses stood out. In fact the rose that has remained in my memory more than any other was a row of Freddie Mercury (BATmercury) with rich golden flowers. Lovely though the flowers were, it was the rich red new foliage that really stood out. But the rose that made an impact so great that I have added it, many years later, to my new garden, is Honey Dijon (WEKsprouleses).
Honey Dijon is a Large-flowered rose (Hybrid Tea) that has single or small clusters of roses at the end of each stem. The flowers are moderately sized, with a high centre when young, when they are most attractive, and open to rather loose, blowsy flowers – not something I adore. They have a pleasant and quite strong scent that and the foliage is dark green. So far the habit seems compact.
So far all quite normal. And so we come to the colour. As the name suggests, there is a suspicion of honey and mustard here and the name is very apt. But the colour of the petals is hugely variable, according to the weather, the temperature and the age of the flower. The buds start with significant red flushing and these patches actually turn pink as the flower ages. The flowers can be quite yellow but they can change to any shade between English mustard and French mustard. Picked, the flowers last well but mature to a parchment shade, rather like a bruised peach. This all sounds a bit unpleasant and I admit that the idea of lilac pink and mustard yellow is not something that would normally have me rushing to see – rather I would be rushing in the other direction – but it works.
This is not a colour that will zing in the garden and I think it is better as a cutting rose – though I confess it might look best next to a Staffordshire flatback dog in Miss Havisham’s dusty bedroom. I apologise for the photo – as ever the day was dull when I went to take the photo.
There is potential for lots of colour combinations however, and some of the more curious pastel achilleas spring to mind or grasses – anything with large bright flowers would steal the thunder.
Honey Dijon was introduced in the UK by CK Jones and was bred by James Sproul in the USA and introduced by Tom Carruth of Weeks Roses in 2005.