Seeing images of the Royal barge ‘Spirit of Chartwell’ voyaging along the Thames, I was especially interested in identifying the flowers that made up the magnificent decor. A floral “E” for Elizabeth had been created from St Paulias (African violets) and mingled with creamy white ‘Patience’ roses whilst red roses, shamrocks, thistles and daffodils were included to represent the four corners of the UK. Even the Commonwealth blooms were homegrown, raised at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Decked with flowers of golds, crimsons, purples and highlights of cream, I could identify sulphurous Achilleas, Veronicas, Lupins, Lavendars and pale yellow-eyed grass ‘Sisyrinchium striatum’.
With over a thousand flowering herbs and Sweet peas in the 10,000 cut flowers, 600 plants and 90 garlands, it was not hard to imagine trails of pollinators pursuing this floating delicacy, although the downpours would eventually have put paid to any flypasts.
Whence comes this mist of sweet perfume of fragrant
That fills the air at early dawn and after daylight closes,
When through the day the song bird sings and in the
Tis June, the fairest month of all, bright June, the
month of roses.
The sight of all those roses spurred me into making my usual June pilgrimage to the Queen Mary rose gardens in Regent’s park. The recent cold, wet spell was far from ideal for the blooms which tend to spoil in the rain but these were early days and many of the roses were still in bud. Still there were enough varieties making their summer debut to amount to a whole heap of images which I’ve collated in colours. For the sake of Rosarians, I’ve also included names where possible…click to enlarge
The kaleidoscopic splendour of the rose garden would be overwhelming were it not offset by a wall of trees and shrubs and carpeted with lawn. The rope swags for ramblers and climber complete the circular layout and are underplanted with cooler blues and mauves in Nepeta, Salvia and Morning Glory.
From the vast array of Rosa’s coloured, shaped and fragranced hybrids, I have a preference for the more modest beauties, who hang their heads with looser petalled tresses. My bouquet of favourites encompasses the range of hue and saturation from the blushing ‘Scarborough Fair’ to the deep, white-eyed scarlet of ‘Dortmund’. Especially lovely are the pastel, frilly French style noisettes.
With the aid of Smart Photo Editor, Madame Alfred Carriere makes a classical vintage rose picture. Were I to have a rose garden or even a garden, this sweet-scented cupped and pink-tinted white rose would be given pride of place although in this year of the Diamond Jubilee there are a number of more apt varieties to mark the occasion.
Americans have had a Diamond Jubilee hybrid rose since 1947 and in Regent’s Park this floribunda with cream buds maturing to apricot yellow is in full, fragrant flush. Now with the advent of the royal jubilee, some of our renowned nurserymen have produced their own tributes:-
- Queen’s Jubilee rose has double blooms of scented, white flushed peach flowers (Peter Beales)
- Royal Jubilee, an English Alba hybrid of deep pink curved petals that form round cups of rich fragrance. (DavidAustin)
- the sweet pea Diamond Jubilee is a delicate white bloom with pink ‘picotee (Eagle sweet peas)
They may not be long, these days of wine and roses but they are certainly intoxicating. Cheers!