July 27, 2010

English Rose Sniff Test

Lately I've been smelling my english roses to see which ones have the best fragrance. Above is 'Claire Austin', which is supposed to have a lemon scent. Try as I might, I can't catch much of a fragrance at all from this one. Maybe it will put out more of a scent in future years when the shrub is older and stronger.

'Francine Austin' (above) is another white english rose with miniature flowers, and it smells sweet like crabapple blossoms. Creamy 'Crocus Rose' (not pictured) also smells softly sweet, and sometimes like cloves.

I can't remember exactly how 'Crown Princess Margareta' (pictured above) smells, and it doesn't have any flowers for me to check right now. Seems like it smelled good, and the catalog says it smells strongly fruity. I like fruity scents. I'm also having a hard time remembering yellow 'Teasing Georgia' (not pictured), which is supposed to have a tea rose fragrance. I'll have to check during its second flush of blooms.

The DA catalog says 'Queen of Sweden' (not pictured), 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh' (above), and 'Sister Elizabeth' (below) smell like myrrh. To me, they smell like my Grandmother's makeup.

QoS is out of flower, but I keep sniffing CRM and SE to try to like the scent. I'm not quite there, though - I think I'm not a big fan of myrrh. But I love the mauve-pink color of CRM and SE.

When a gardener friend smelled 'William Shakespeare 2000' (above), she exclaimed that it smelled just like a rose should smell. I agree - I guess that's the 'Old Rose' fragrance. 'Munstead Wood' (immediately below) and 'Eglantyne' (below the picture of MW) smell similar to me, though their scents are fainter.

This year I have already written about the strawberry fragrance and lovely form of 'The Countryman' here, so I didn't post any pictures today (below is 'Eglantyne'). I don't know that I can actually detect strawberries, but I really like the scent of TC.

'Princess Alexandra of Kent' (below) is a new rose this year, and it has a nice but soft citrusy fragrance. The surprise about this rose is that the buds are salmon colored before they open into warm pink flowers. The catalog picture looks like a cooler shade. The flowers are pretty, but they don't fit well into my cool-pink backyard scheme.

The new 'Abraham Darby' roses (pictured below) that I planted this spring have a tangy and strong citrus scent, just like I remembered from this rose in California. I'm happy to report that the leaves show no sign of rust disease in the dry Spokane climate.

Blooming for the first time in my garden this year is 'Lady Emma Hamilton' (below). There's some citrus in the scent, and also a yummy pear aspect. I'm still not a fan of straight orange for my garden, but this rosey-orange color is definitely winning me over. The color of this rose reminds me of sunsets - it truly glows in the garden. So 'Lady Emma Hamilton' has captured the top spot on my favorite english rose fragrance list.


  1. Lovely- I longed for a scratch-n-sniff app! Abraham Darby is one of my favorites.

  2. Wow you've got quite a collection! As you might remember I'm not a rose person, but I have to say a big vase of that 'William Shakespeare 2000' would be lovely on my mantle. Especially if it smells as you so nicely describe!

  3. You have so many English roses! I added 'Lady Emma Hamilton' but it hasn't bloomed yet for me to smell. 'Abraham Darby' is my favorite, but'Tamora' has a really nice scent too. Most of mine are getting close to blooming again. Lucky you to have not been affected by rust, it has been just terrible on my roses this year.

  4. I'd be hard pressed to choose just one rose over all the others you have in your garden. They are all gorgeous-smell or no smell. Sometimes with roses we simply must smell them all and I sure wish I could smell these ones-they look so good it is almost like I can touch them.

  5. If only they had scratch and sniff on blogs. I think all your roses are beautiful.
    My husband HATES the smell of roses. Crazy guy!

  6. I too long for Scratch and Sniff on the computer! You have a wonderful collection of rose's. I think of my grandmother when seeing rose's as she had a rose garden. I have no luck with them and settle for enjoying them in other gardens. I bet it smells heavenly in your gardens now....

  7. I have trouble growing roses, but if I did, they would all have to be fragrant. I mean, isn't that what a rose is all about! Yours are absolutely gorgeous and how wonderful that they are fragrant! gail

  8. VW girl !! Sorry I have been well out of the loop for ages .. and now laid up with an injury so I can't work in my garden .. thus I can visit the cyber world a bit more : )
    I love that you are giving a review on scents .. roses bred without scents .. well they are NOT roses in my book !
    I have William Shakespeare just this year and it truly smells the way a rose should smell .. also Zephirine Drouhin is totally dreamy with that old Bourbon scent .. I am still searching for an easy care white rose (not a petal structure like the Austin roses though) with wonderful scent .. if you have any suggestions girl ? .. i would love to hear from you !
    Joy : )

  9. The 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh' are by FAR my favorite. What a gorgeous flower!!! Gorgeous pictures, too!

  10. I'm remembering an intensely fragrant 'Winston Churchill' from your garden last summer. Or have I got his name wrong? A red fellow, that's for sure.

  11. I don't grow tea roses specifically, but I often find I have to work pretty hard to appreciate whatever scent a particular rose is reported to have. I've got a Dream Weaver climber in my backyard, and while it DOES have a light apple scent as advertised, the emphasis is on light. You really have to stick your nose in a blossom and breathe deep to get a whiff - even when the climber is covered in blooms. I still love it though.

  12. Great post !
    My husband agrees with you : he always says some rose fragrances remind him her grandmother's creams !


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