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English Rose Sniff Test

Posted Jul 27 2010 10:21am

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.

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