Many consider the most scented rose of all to be a blowsy beauty called 'Madame Isaac Pereire'. This repeat-flowering Bourbon rose bears substantial rich-pink blooms in abundance until late into the year. She has been admired since 1881 and is often grown as a short climber. Usefully she will tolerate poorer soil and shade.
Two other repeat-flowering, extremely healthy climbers of note are the silver-pink 'New Dawn' and the blush-white 'Madame Alfred Carrière'. They are used in entirely different ways. 'New Dawn' is perfect spiralled round the supports of a pergola or rose arch. Whereas 'Madame Alfred Carrière' is a vigorous climber and it famously spans the north facing wall at Sissinghurst in Kent. This blush-white noisette often flowers until Christmas. Both have good foliage and Madame Alfred can be left to scale a wall, but she can also be looped along a pergola. Train the stems in November before winter hardens them up.
David Austin’s English roses are specifically bred for scent and the deep-pink 'Gertrude Jekyll' and rich-yellow 'Teasing Georgia' are two of his finest.
Shrub roses - care and pruning
- Prune in the second half of winter.
- Remove the three Ds - the diseased, damaged and dead.
- Reduce the longer main stems by between one third and a half.
- Take out any weak stems and any that cross.
- Deadhead repeat-flowering roses to promote more flowers - unless you want hips.
1. 'Roseraie de l'Hay' (1.8 m x 1.5 m / 6 ft x 5 ft)
This upright, repeat-flowering Rugosa rose is completely healthy. Semi-double, crimson-purple blooms top bright green foliage and round orange-red hips follow. Tolerates poor soil and partial shade, but dislikes very alkaline soil.
2. 'Great Maiden’s Blush’ (1.5 m x 0.9 m / 5 ft x 3 ft)
Sweetly scented, pale-pink flowers with incurved petals framed by grey-green foliage make this 18th-century Alba rose one of the easiest to grow.
3. 'Madame Hardy' (1.5 m x 1.5 m /5 ft x 5 ft)
This cool-white Damask rose, with a green-button middle, looks best in shadier places. The fragrance is fruity, the flowers are fully quartered and it’s vigorous, but thorny. Flowers just once.
4. 'St Ethelburga' (1.75 m x 0.9 m /4 ft x 3 ft)
Bred by Peter Beales in 2003 this shrub rose has healthy mid-green foliage supporting loosely formed soft-pink flowers.
5. 'Generous Gardener' (1. 5m x 1. 3 m / 5 ft x 4 ft)
This light-pink David Austin English rose produces informal blooms and it’s slightly leggy habit make it ideal for a number of uses including large beds, walls, pergolas, arches and pillars
6. 'Constance Spry' shrub (2m x 2m / 7 ft x 7 ft)
Large medium-pink shrub rose with a lax habit bred by David Austin in 1961. Can be grown as a climber too and then the myrrh fragrance is striking.
7. Ispahan (1.2 m x 0.9 m /4 ft x 3 ft)
Long-flowering Damask rose ( pre-1832) with small semi-double pink flowers with a clove fragrance in summer. Tolerant of poor soil and strong, healthy and easy.
8. 'Compte de Chambord' (1m x 1m)
This double, medium-pink repeat-flowering Portland rose has an old-rose fragrance and very full flowers. The light-green foliage is also attractive.
9. 'Surpasse Tout' (1.5 x 1.5)
This Gallica rose flowers once in June, but the rose-crimson flowers are stunning. Completely healthy and good on poor soil that bakes.
10. 'Charles de Mills' (1.2 m x 0.9 m /4 ft x 3 ft)
A dusky deep-purplish red rose with a button eye set off by green foliage. One of the best of the old shrub roses with a light, sweet fragrance.
Fragrant hedges - care and pruning
Hedging roses can be bought from some rose growers and are they are often planted as bare-root plants during the dormant season between November and early March. The ground must be frost-free. Trim up into shape in late winter.
1. 'Harlow Carr' (1.2 m x 1.0 m / 4 ft x 3 ft)
Repeat-flowering pink English rose bred by David Austin in 2004. Exceptionally fragrant and a very useful short edge.
2. 'Wild Edric' (1.2 m x 1.2 m / 4 ft x 4 ft)
Rugosa-like single pink flowers, but no hips to follow, on this David Austin rose bred for healthy vigour. Very fresh and very English.
3. 'Buff Beauty' (1.5 m x 1.2 m (5 ft x 4 ft)
Continually in flower between July and late autumn, the Hybrid Musk rose Buff Beauty has soft apricot flowers and healthy coppery leaves. The scent is intoxicating.
4. 'Felicia' (1.5 m x 1.5 m / 5 ft x 5 ft)
Another Hybrid Musk rose, but this one has small, light-pink flowers that appear from darker pink buds. Healthy and free flowering from July onwards.
6. 'Prosperity' (1.5 m x 1.2 m / 5 ft x 4 ft)
A cream-white hybrid musk rose with apricot tints made more lovely by dark foliage - a strong clove scent.
- Climbing roses need supports - either a trellis or wires.
- First remove dead, diseased or dying branches.
- Tie in any new shoots needed to fill supports.
- Prune any flowered side shoots back by two thirds of their length.
- If the plant is heavily congested, cut out any really old branches from the base to promote new growth.
1. 'Gloire de Dijon' (up to 4.5 m)
Soft apricot-buff tea rose, very vigorous and very healthy once established. A scented show stopper.
2. 'Clarence House' (up to 4.5 m)
Lemon-scented yellow climber named at the express wish of the late Queen Mother and grown at Clarence House since 2000. Vigorous and strong with old-fashioned buttoned flowers.
3. 'Mme. Grégoire Staechelin'(up to 4.5 m)
Flowers just once early in the rose season, but the pale-pink slightly nodding roses have a veined, deeper back to the petals and the superb foliage is glossy and healthy. Small orange pear-shaped hips follow.
4. 'Blairii no 2' (up to 3.5 m)
Very free-flowering with flat flowers in a deep-pink that pales to towards the edges. The strong scent is always noticeable. Needs a warm position.
Hybrid teas and floribundas - care and pruning
These are basically pruned in the same way with one important difference. Floribuda stems should be left longer (roughly 10 - 12 inches/30 cm) than hybrid teas which are taken down to between 4 and 6 inches (10 - 15 cm). Cut out dead, diseased and any rubbing and crossing stems to keep the centre open.
- Shorten back the strongest remaining shoots to four to six buds 10-15 cm (4–6 in) from the base - to the point where last year's growth began.
- Shorten back less vigorous shoots to two to four buds 5–10 cm (2–4 in) from the base.
- Cut back the strongest shoots down to within 25 - 30 cm (10 – 12 in) of soil level.
- Prune back less vigorous shoots more severely.
Floribundas and hybrid teas tend to be scented but here are six of the best.
1. 'Deep Secret' (80 cm)
Large rich-red flowers - Rose of the Year 1979.
2. 'Prima Ballerina' (100 cm)
Large, orange-pink flowers.
3. 'Freedom' (80 cm)
1. 'City of London' - (90 cm)
Clusters of light-pink flowers.
2. 'Absolutely Fabulous' (90 cm)
Rich-yellow flowers - Rose of the Year 2009.
3. 'Margaret Merrill' (100 cm)
Warm-white floribunda - highly scented.
4. 'Amber Queen' (75 cm)
Large, full flowers in a warm yellow set against bronzed foliage. Rose of the Year 1984.
David Austin Roses - www.davidaustinroses.com
Peter Beales Roses - www.classicroses.co.uk