What better tribute to Her Majesty’s reign than a royal rose, says Adrienne Wild

Royal rose fit for a queen istock

A bold red rose is a glorious site (c)iStock


Not only has the rose been the national flower of England since Tudor times, but many new varieties have been produced to commemorate key events over our current Queen’s 63-year reign.

Red, white and blue is the obvious theme for a floral tribute to mark the Queen becoming the longest-reigning British monarch, but mixing roses with peonies, lavender, lilies and geraniums in pastel pink, lavender-blue and white is much more subtle.

Why not try blending roses with jasmine and carnations to make a perfumed border? Or replicate Penhaligon’s Jubilee Bouquet, a bergamot, chamomile, jasmine and rose scent launched for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

If you simply want to make a statement, plant cottage- garden favourite catmint or Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ – a mass of lavender-blue flower spikes – at the foot of the beautiful pink ‘Queen Elizabeth’ rose.

‘Silver Jubilee’

The variety ‘Silver Jubilee’ launched to celebrate the Queen’s first 25 years on the throne, has remained popular with gardeners far and wide. This is mostly due to its free-flowering nature, disease-resistance and robust growth, which earned it the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Its shapely, bee-friendly blooms of silvery pink, apricot, peach and cream are deliciously scented and followed by showy red or purple fruits.

For maximum impact, plant in groups of three or five. ‘Silver Jubilee’ has a height of 1m and spread of 60cm, so leave at least that distance between the plants to allow air to circulate and reduce the risk of powdery mildew, rust, black spot and botrytis.

A traditional English rose garden © iStock

A traditional English rose garden © iStock

‘Queen Elizabeth’

This beautiful vintage rose was bred in America and named in honour of the Queen’s coronation in 1953. A cross between the deeply scented, pink hybrid tea ‘Charlotte Armstrong’ and orange-red floribunda ‘Florador’, it was the first-ever Grandiflora (large-flowered) rose.

This gorgeous hybrid produces elegant pointed buds in small clusters that open to reveal clear orchid-pink, double-rounded blooms. Having long, almost thornless stems and large, glossy, dark green leaves make it a perfect cut rose.

It isn’t noticeably scented but its robust habit, resistance to diseases and stately height – 1.8m or more – make it a great garden plant. Use it for hedging, or as a garden divider – or plant at the back of a border where it will attract bees.

Just like the Queen it’s named for, this rose is resilient and reliable; blooms are long-lasting and appear in profusion from July to September. Like most roses, it’s easy to grow and will live a long time if looked after.

Climbing roses make a beautiful pergola feature © iStock

Climbing roses make a beautiful pergola feature © iStock

‘Golden Wedding’

In the Queen’s own glorious rose garden at Buckingham Palace – also home to a family of woodpeckers! – you’ll find the iridescent ‘Golden Wedding’ along with other varieties that have been specially bred for the Queen.

This beautiful fragrant rose has golden-yellow blooms, which represent joy, happiness, friendship, true love and domestic bliss. A great anniversary gift, this variety is especially useful for giving partially shaded borders a golden glow.

‘Jubilee Celebration’

Launched to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, ‘Jubilee Celebration’ is one of David Austin’s famous English Roses. These have the classic good looks and charm of old-fashioned roses but with some disease resistance and repeat-flowering strength.

This variety has fruity, fragrant flowers, which have hints of lemon and raspberry. They are a lovely rich salmon-pink in colour with tint of gold on the undersides of the petals. It makes a fine shrub up to 1.2m tall and is a good choice for creating a tropical scheme using flowers in rich sunset shades.

Roses look stunning grown through a traditional fence © iStock

Roses look stunning grown through a traditional fence © iStock

‘Queen’s Jubilee Rose’

Another rose that was bred to celebrate the 60th year of the Queen’s reign is one from Peter Beales Modern Classics. It has fully double, goblet-shaped white blooms flushed with peach that flower continuously throughout the summer on neat plants less than 1m tall, making it useful for growing in pots as well as borders.

Plants with rusty red bloom and lush green foliage look stunning alongside peach-coloured roses. Heucheras – evergreen perennials – come in a tapestry of colours and are a good choice for covering the soil and bare legs of rose bushes.

‘Diamond Jubilee’

A new hybrid tea, ‘Diamond Jubilee’ was launched to celebrate this incredibly rare royal occasion. It has perfectly formed peach-coloured flowers, which emerge from spiral-shaped buds into delicately fragrant blooms 8-10cm across.

The flowers, which have good weather resistance, are produced in small clusters on bushy plants 60-80cm tall, making it ideal for growing in containers. An ideal spot for a more impressive mass planting of ‘Diamond Jubilee’ is one that you walk past every day, such as a border close to opened doors and windows that allow the delicious fragrance to waft inside.

‘Royal Jubilee’

Launched to mark the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the David Austin ‘Royal Jubilee’ has become a favourite for its exquisite deep pink flowers, chalice shape and curved petals. With few thorns and a fruity fragrance, ‘Royal Jubilee’ is a good choice for informal planting schemes and an excellent cut flower with a vase life of up to a week.