Hip, Hip, Hooray (again…) More from the Rose Garden at Kew

A glorious show from Bonica

Flowers there are in the Rose Garden at Kew- and a real treat they were too – but this is what I was expecting – a grand show of Rose Hips. Well, actually that is not strictly true, I wasn’t anticipating this brilliant extravaganza from the modern pink shrub rose, Bonica (above and below). It is a beautiful and very hardworking shrub – I saw an amazing example in Waterperry Gardens in the summer that was simply World Class, so full of flower it was. But I didn’t know it could give this kind of show. Showstopping.

Rosa californica
Rosa californica

Elsewhere, the wild rose, Rosa californica, was giving a rich and intense performance too..

Rosa californica

Altogether more pale and interesting, the Pemberton creation, Penelope, with a more muted, chalky palette


With leaf and hip, Rosa virginiana was crimson and green and a very different effect.

Rosa virginiana
Rosa virginiana
Rosa x Hibernica

Rosa x Hibernica, with larger hips and prominent calyx.

Some of these varieties flower just the once and may be discounted as candidates for a place in your garden on this account. But bear in mind that a rose that gives everything to that one flowering, every ounce of energy it has, the display can be barnstorming and if there is a colourful and long-lasting display of hips to follow, then the pleasure is extended even without a succession of flowers throughout the season. Then again, some repeat-flowering roses will give you both – how great is that! Bonica is on my Wish List having seen this display. My Christmas Day table was adorned with the bright, huge hips from The Generous Gardener (a free-flowering climber from David Austin) and this remains a firm favourite too.

But if it is just one, albeit long and beautiful flowering that a particular rose give you, think about what might come next and find a space in your garden…


From David Austin, suggestions for some good hippers..


From the superlative US retailer, Heirloom Roses – an excellent, comprehensive resource here –


From my back catalogue here at TTG –





A rugosa rose, Hansa, below


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