Split personalities


One plant, two roses. David Austin rose, Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral, the white, is a ‘sport’ of an old David Austin favourite, Mary Rose. A sport (in a nutshell) is a spontaneous mutation, identical in all outward respects save, in this instance, flower colour, (though it may also, for example, be a climbing sport of a normally earth-bound bush). This variation can be sustained through propagation, but can sometimes, rather beautifully, prove a little unstable.

For the normally pure white Winchester Cathedral, a single icing sugar flower may be streaked with pink  – and I have seen a flower neatly divided into pink and white, half and half. Here we have a full-on reversion to the parental pink. Twice the enjoyment and all part of the charm of this English Rose (though I might prune out the pink shoot, else it might think about taking over completely, perhaps being more vigorous).

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