Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Scents and Sensibility; A Pure Symbol of Love, Inspiring Poetry and Painting through the Ages, Nothing Is More Enchanting or Mysterious Than the Rose

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Scents and Sensibility; A Pure Symbol of Love, Inspiring Poetry and Painting through the Ages, Nothing Is More Enchanting or Mysterious Than the Rose

Article excerpt

Byline: With Carol Klein of TV's Gardeners' World

THINK of a shrub, healthy and branching with glossy dark green leaves and masses of voluptuous satin-petalled flowers in an array of colours, from glamorous Hollywood red to palest pastel pink.

Sometimes flowers are simple, single and straightforward with a powder puff of quivering stamens at their heart. In other cases they may be so full they seem impenetrable and mysterious. They are loaded with perfume, yet scents can vary from honey to spice, apple to myrrh.

Its care is simple - an occasional prune, regular dead-heading and a gentle feed. In a few cases, flowers will gradually turn themselves into | Rosa decorative hips.

It is, of course, the rose.

There are climbing roses, standard roses and hybrid teas but increasingly it is shrub roses that gardeners desire.

Throughout history, mankind has cherished shrub roses. The rose figured large in all the ancient civilisations, from Egypt to Greece to Rome from the Minoan to the Mesopotamian. In the Far East, too, the rose was revered. It was used in religious ceremonies, in cookery, in perfumery.

| 'Shropshire. The rose developed simultaneously in different places but at a similar time - 40 million years ago. Its breeding at the hand of man is seldom documented, though there are clues.

In AD77, Pliny, the Roman author and botanist, recorded 10 or more different roses in cultivation. Some were chance hybrids but it is likely deliberate crosses were engineered.

The gallica rose was cultivated for medicinal use and is called the apothecary's rose. It was brought back to England from the Middle East by crusaders and gave rise to other roses, including the alba roses, probably a cross with Rosa canina, our own wild dog rose.

Mundi Later, on the Isle de Reunion in the Indian Ocean where traders and merchants from East and West settled, bringing their roses with them, spontaneous hybridisation took place, resulting in an entirely new race of roses.

Most significantly, these new flowers - the bourbon roses - continued to flower for months on end. Until then, the rose season had been a short one, with just one flush of bloom lasting no more than a few weeks. Later, yellow roses imported from Persia and China broadened the spectrum of colour. All the elements needed to make brilliant roses were there but it is only in recent years that they have all been brought together with the help of scientific understanding combined with Lad' vision, aesthetic sensibility and a desire to produce roses that would do well for all of us.

One of the major proponents is David Austin whose range of English Roses is second to none.

They are bred to be robust, long-flowering and scented and cover a range of colour and form.

Many incorporate the charm of the old roses, the bourbons, damasks, gallicas and centifolias we associate with the romantic idyll of a rose garden, but bring them up to date. …

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