Roses have been superb this year, everywhere I've looked. Including my garden. Actually I'm moderately chuffed as I like to think the particularly good performance of the rose featured here is down to my pruning (OK, it's probably the weather, but I can dream...).
It was originally planted by my father (who loved roses and was always rooting cuttings in jars), which means it must have arrived in the garden in the 70s or early 80s. It's a rambler, fuchsia-pink (as you can see) with clusters of smallish-sized flowers, not repeat blooming, but flowering over several weeks (it's just gone over now, but we've had at least a month of flowers). Not really very scented.
Forearmed with the information that "It looks like a David Austin rose," (thank you, Fryer's), and armed with the meagre description above, I accosted one of the men on David Austin's stand at Hampton Court Flower Show last week.
He looked resigned (how often do people ask this sort of thing over the week, I wonder) and came up with three possibilities: Alexandre Girault, American Pillar (definitely not, that's a single), Excelsa.
I thought he must mean Super Excelsa (which shows the dangers of relying on Google) and I plumped for that as it doesn't have the strong fragrance listed for Alexandre Girault. BUT a play on the find-yourself-a-rose feature on Peter Beales's site told me that Super Excelsa' s date of birth is 1986 (too late).
A play on Ashridge Nurseries' website brought up Crimson Showers, looking perfect, EXCEPT David Austin says this flowers to September. No good.
However, Crimson Showers was born from a seed of Excelsa in 1951 (a theme has developed). And - ta rah! - more ferreting on Peter Beales reveals that Excelsa burst into the world in 1909. Which just goes to show you should trust the experts and not get confused by Google.
It never really did particularly well in its original position, on a north-facing fence that grew progressively shadier over the years, so I took a cutting (rooted in a jar of water) about four years ago and planted the result in full sun, weaving it into a flimsy support. (The rose was what kept it upright during the high winds last winter.)
It looks great against the neighbour's pink-tinged bush behind.
I think my father would be chuffed too.
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