The Teddington Gardener

Through the centuries – roses at Mottisfont Abbey

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White foxgloves come into their own in statuesque quality in contrast to the dark purplish colour of rose Hippolyte. This is a Gallica hybrid for which we have no date. Strangely it is almost prickle-less and in this way as in the shape and colour of the flowers Gallica ancestry is indicated. Reaching 5 of 6′ (1.5-1.8m) in height it is of graceful habit, bearing beautiful little flat flowers like rosettes, smooth petalled, reflexing into a ball, with button ‘eyes’. An occasional cerise petal, or one of dove-grey, light the many others which are generally of a soft rosy violet. The ‘button ‘ eye is a character peculiar to the very full-petalled old roses; the centres, composed of stamens turned into petals are packed so tightly into the empty receptacle in the heart of the flower that they cannot unfold and remain in an incurved cluster, shaped like a button.

President du Seze

President du Seze

President du Seze

President du Seze is a true Gallica with excellent bushy habit, arching growth up to 4-5ft (1.2-1.5m) high and wide, good foliage and few prickles. It is an ancient variety raised prior to 1836; the same rose is grown, erroneously, as ‘Jenny Duval’. The big blooms are very full of petals and are often quartered and with button eyes. The colours move from dark magenta-crimson in the centre of a half-open flower paling to lilac-white around the edges. It is at all times, even when the whole flower has faded to pale lilac, a rich and striking bloom.

Mme Hardy

Mme Hardy

Madame Hardy

The incomparable Madame Hardy which made her entry in 1832, will always be in our gardens. Madame hardy has all the assets – superlative blooms, flatly and fully double, quartered, with button eyes and a green pointil in the centre and an unforgettable, sweet scent. All this on a fine big shrub with good foliage. Prune after flowering and reduce long shoots in winter.

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