Russell Crowe will pound across cinema screens from tomorrow in the guise of Robin Hood, and with a whole new backstory (and main story) unrecognisable to those of us who have grown up with the legend (and, indeed, the unsurpassable Errol Flynn version).
Having seen a trailer, which prominently reminds us that the director Ridley Scott was also responsible for Gladiator, I’d say we’re in for more of the same — lots of murky forest, wide CGI vistas and a strange predilection for making every scene dreary with a blue or brown filter. Still, I could be wrong.
So, in celebration of (OK, and protest at) this latest reincarnation of one of our most English heroes, I thought I’d ferret out a connection with that most English flower, the rose.
Robin Hood is a freely and repeat flowering hybrid musk with large clusters in a splendidly suitable cherry red, though some say scarlet, and others (in the States) think hot pink or fuchsia is more accurate. They are said to hold their colour well, however bad the weather.
Growers in this country describe it as 3 feet high, with a 3 foot spread (1m x 1m) but again, in the States, it’s different, being bigger (now isn’t that always the way?), reaching 4-5 feet, with a 5 foot spread.
According to Beales Roses it’s good as a hedge, in poorer soils, has some shade tolerance, isn’t very thorny, and has only a weak scent, which is a shame in a musk rose.
They also say that it’s unique to their collection, but the Roses Locator at Roses UK reveals that it’s available from Trevor White at Old Roses, Country Garden Roses in Shropshire, and Burrows Roses 01332 669962. See Growquest for a US supplier.
Robin Hood was brought to life by the Rev. Joseph Pemberton, who introduced the whole class of hybrid musks by crossing a climber, Trier, with hybrid teas. Robin Hood is itself a parent of Iceberg.
There’s not much information out there on Pemberton but, according to Growquest and Wikipaedia, he was an keen amateur who in 1911 was president of the Royal National Rose Society, soon after it was founded. Sadly he died in 1926, but his sister (another rose enthusiast) went on to release Robin Hood in 1927.
Roses often have an interesting story behind them.
Let's hope we can say the same about Ridley Scott’s film.
See the trailer for Ridley Scott's Robin Hood.