Rose of the week- Climbing Lady Hillingdon 

rosa lady hillington (3)

Well as it’s coming into the main rose season, so I decided to change the Plant of the week to the Rose of the week to really highlight some of the beautiful, historical, romantic and scented of all our garden plants.

Decided to start it all off, with one of my most favourite of all roses, Climbing Lady Hillingdon. From childhood, this beautiful rose has adorned all of main houses I have lived in and still even now, I have one flowering delightfully flowering away in my back garden


lady hillington

There are two forms of this beautiful tea rose available, a bush form and the climbing form, the bush form was bred first in 1910 by the English Rose breeders Lowe and Shawyer, using Papa Gontier and Mme Hoste as parents. It sported the climbing form in 1917. This Hardy rose has the most beautiful plum coloured young foliage that turn a dark green colour when they mature, the young stems are also this lovely plum colour before going a dark red/brown colour. The flowers have a great tea rose shape, with pointed buds that open into the soft apricot colour that keeps on flowering from May up to the first hard frosts. The scent of her ladyship is often described as ‘freshly opened tea with a hint of Apricot). Growthwise, it can get up to 20ft  tall over a bit of time, her ladyship does need a couple or 4yrs to settle into her new home before growing away quite strongly.  soilwise, most soils do fit her ladyship as long as it’s not too wet! She does prefer a nice sunny spot on the wall of a house. Pest and disease wise, the normal Rose diseases do effect her a little but she’s not over susceptible to them. Please see my earlier blog on managing foliage problems on roses.

rosa lady hillington (2)

Rosa ‘Lady Hillingdon’ was named after Alice Harbord-Hamond, born 1857she married the 2nd Baron Hillingdon in 1886, where they lived in their Norfolk estate, Overstrand Hall, built by Sir Edward Lutchens on land given to them as a wedding present by her father. She was most known from a section of her diary where she wrote  ‘I am happy now that Charles calls on my bedchamber less frequently than of old. As it is, I now endure but two calls a week and when I hear his steps outside my door I lie down on my bed, close my eyes, open my legs and think of England.’  In 1912

Rosa ‘Climbing Lady Hillingdon’ can be found growing in many gardens, although there are 3 lovely speicmens at Mottisfont Abbey gardens, 1 in the walled garden, 1 near the cellarium and 1 I planted on the lodge house at the top of the drive. Buying wise, both David Austin Roses and Peter Beales can supply

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Jane Gardner says:

    Mine has been in less than a year (in Wellington, NZ) and hasn’t supplied many blooms yet. Establishing herself still, I suppose, in our windy and changeable climate. Bought as the bush, she is clearly the climber, which is awkward but not impossible. I’m training her against a crumbling clay and greywacke bank using long cane supports, which looks fine. The fact she is young and on her own roots could explain the dearth of flowers till now. She is growing strongly in the sun and throwing out looooong purple/mahogany-coloured shoots, very healthy, hardly a trace of black spot. It’s true she doesn’t like too much water. She developed some powdery mildew at the base when I was a bit too enthusiastic. Lesson learned. The flowers are apricot, floppy and exquisite (and short lived, sigh); the scent the most divine of the teas. She is planted next to Mrs Berkeley and the colours together when they get settled should be pleasing with many other yellow and gold and orangeish tones around in day lilies and other smaller flowers. Devoniensis is nearby in this planting and I can see they will eventually hold hands on the bank. There is some crimson pinkness running through the whole visual scheme which is gentle and lovely to see.

    Re Lady Hillingdon herself: If the story is true, she clearly didn’t like her husband much. Why did they marry one another, those horribly-repressed people! Because “one does what is suitable and expected”. What a sad story, for both of them. I want to believe it’s apocryphal only because the quote has the “composed” sound of the grammatically-correct and syntactically well-exercised past. But those people learned to write well, by hand, if only to be able to tell their woes to their diaries before going orf to tea with other folk of their own echelon. I wish I hadn’t seen this grim factoid with all its miserable resonances… but I still love the rose, which is everything sensuous, delicious and heart-warming.

  2. Michael Murphy says:

    Sir Edwin Lutyens would have preferred this blogger to have spelled his name correctly: He was NOT Sir ‘Edward Lutchens , however many academic qualifications you have, Mr Stone!
    Lady Hillingdon was quite a character, and my Lady Hillingdon rose flowers happily in summer and now in April 2020. This last Christmas Day 2019 , she was flowering fully in Southern UK.
    So please get your facts right!

    1. thomashort says:

      I do apologise for my bad speling although most of the time spellchecker adjusts it for me and I ‘fail’ to see the corrected mistake.
      I apologise if my slight mistake upset you as much as it seems to of done,

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