Rose of the week-Koenigin Von Danemark 

This weeks Rose of the week  is another shrub rose, this time it’s a great alba rose, Koenigin Von Danemark or the Queen of Denmark. The alba roses are thought to be from an very old cross between rosa damascena and a form of rosa canina. They have certainly been around for many centuries and indeed rosa alba ‘Maxima’ is thought to be the white rose of York. Koenigin Von DaneMark was bred from seedling from another alba rose, Maidens Blush in 1816 by the Scotsman James Booth. He had a nursery in Flottbek near Hamburg, Germany although at the time, it was part of Denmark. The new seedling started like as Great  Maidens Blush and was changed to its current name after James Booth asked permission to name the rose after the Queen from the King of Denmark and was sold from as this from 1826. 

Koenigin Von Danemark is indeed one of the truely great heritage roses. It has the most beautiful buds that open up to sometimes quartered flower of a clear pink with sometimes a green button hole in the middle, the scents flowers are borne just from 4 weeks around about mid summers day in June. The foliage is also very good, a dark blue/green colour with a grey sheen, just like all other alba roses. It doesn’t tend to suffer too much for fungal diseases but those can be treated easily,  just click here for details. Growthwise it is pretty lax grower, making a shrub up to 6ft in size, but it can be (and is much better) grown up a wall, archway or just cascading out of a small tree. Like all others in the alba group, it can take North facing sites pretty well and same with semi shady spots. 

The Queen of Denmark or Marie Sophie Frederikke of Hesse-Kassel as she was born in 28 October 1767, eldest daughter of Landgrave Charles of Hesse-Kassel and Princess Louise of Denmark. She married her first cousin, Frederick, crown Prince of Denmark On 31 July 1790 in Gottorp, she married her first cousin Frederick, then crown prince of Denmark. In 1808, his father, Christian VII of Denmark passed away and Frederick became Frederick VI of Denmark on 13th of March, 1808 and Marie became a much loved Queen of Denmark and served as Queen until her husband died in 3rd of December 1839 after which she disappeared from public life, she died a few years later in 1852

Rose of the week- Jeanne de Montfort


Well we have had a couple of climbing roses so far in this series, so I think it’s time for a shrub rose. One of my favourite types of shrub roses has to be the Moss roses, with their soft sticky fragrant moss like growth around the buds, have a special place in my heart. They take me back to the hours of spent bloom removing, with the moss roses, leaving their spicy sweet scent on my hands for days after. The Moss roses are a sport of the centifolia rose, with the mossy growth is really the enlargement of the glandular projects over the flower stalk and bud.

Jeanne de Montfort was bred by Monsieur Robert in 1851. Robert worked for the famous rose breeding family Vibert, from which he took over the nursery in Angers around 1851. It is one of the taller Moss roses, reaching a grand height between 6-7ft in height, not quite as vigourous as ‘William Lobb’. The clear warm pink beautifully scented flowers are borne over shiney green leaves and soft browny/red thorns and mossy growth. The flowers have their main display in June but also will sometimes flower later on in the season as well. Does suffer a little with foliage problems like most roses but information to treat them can be found here.

But who on earth is Jeanne de Montfort and why is she named after a rose? Well Jeanne de Montfort was born in 1295, her father was LouisI, Count of Nevers and she married John of Montfort in 1329. In 1341, the Duke of Brittany JohnIII sadly passed away, being childless, there was no clear accession to the throne and this lead to the War of Breton Succession (thought to be the start of the 100yr war between England and France) between the Montfort and Blois family. After her husband was captured, Jeanne donned on a suit of amour and carried on the fight in her families honour, she enlisted the help of the English during some of the battles and to break the siege of Hennebout. She became well know as a very good military leader and a good fighter even during hand to hand combat during a sea battle on the way to England. After her husband was killed in battle in 1345, she became the leader of the Montfort family. The was continued but she moved to England and the fight was carried on by English lords on her behalf. Although she came to England as a heroine, she was conifined to Tickhill Castle on the Nottinghamshire/Yorkshire border by King Edward III, mainly to increase his power in Normandy. She sadly passed away in 1374. She has been discribed by mainly people as having “had the courage of a man and the heart of a lion”, thought to be a heroine of Joan of Arc and was a role model for Victorian feminists. The folktales of her life are still told in Brittany today.

Rose of the Week – Gloire De Dijon 

rosa gloire de dijon (3).JPGThis weeks Rose of the week is indeed another total classic rose, again one of my favourites (well to be honest there’s not many I don’t like!). This tea noisette Rose does need the support of a wall the get the best from its maximum size 5mx7m size that’s covered in deep buff 10cm wide flowers that take on a pink and apricot during warm spell. These highly fragrant flowers have a main flush during June and then have the odd flower repeating the for the reminder of the summer months, up until the first frosts. It will take a full sunny spot or indeed one with a bit of shade and most types of soil as well. The foliage is a good glossy green colour.  Disease wise,the normal problems can effect this rose a bit, but does show a good resistance to the problems (please see here for treatment suggestions) indeed all the above make it one of the best climbing roses you can plant in your garden.

It was bred by Monsieur Jacotot, a Frenchman born and died in Dijon, hence the name meaning  glory of Dijon. It was cross between the noisette rose ‘Desprez a fleur Jaune’ and the bourbon ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ in 1853 and with parents like those it was always going to be a special Rose.  So special that the poet D H Lawrence wrote the following poem about it

Gloire de Dijon


When she rises in the morning

I linger to watch her; 

She spreads the bath-cloth underneath the window 

And the sunbeams catch her 

Glistening white on the shoulders, 

While down her sides the mellow 

Golden shadow glows as 

She stoops to the sponge, and her swung breasts 

Sway like full-blown yellow 

Gloire de Dijon roses. 
She drips herself with water, and her shoulders 

Glisten as silver, they crumple up 

Like wet and falling roses, and I listen 

For the sluicing of their rain-dishevelled petals. 

In the window full of sunlight 

Concentrates her golden shadow 

Fold on fold, until it glows as 

Mellow as the glory roses. 

What a lovely pose! Again it can be found growing in gardens like Mottisfont Abbey Gardens and I believe Hidcote has a great specimen. It can be brought from most good rose suppliers like David Austin Roses and Trevor White Rose.

rosa gloire de dijon.JPG


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

Treating rose leaf diseases


I do a lot of garden visits to clients houses and also a lot talks to all types of groups and the biggest rose question is of course how do I stop black spot and mildew on my roses. Trouble is it’s a not a short answer!

First of all what exactly are we talking about when we talk about Rose leaf problems, so let’s have a look in a little detail before we work out how to deal with it

Black spot

Black spot. This is a horrible fungus called Diplocarpon rosae. It starts off with black spots (hence the name!) sometimes they maybe small dots on the leaves, other times, it will be large black spots, all depends on the hybrid being grown and also the weather conditions. The leaves may slowly turn yellow (but not all times) and then fall off! The trouble with this fungus is that it is always changing, with new strains emerging at all times, the plant that wasn’t effected last year may not be safe for this year, same with roses bred with blackspot resilience. It’s quite often, the more modern roses like hybrid teas, florabundas, bourbons, hybrid perpetuals that suffer the most. Weather conditions are also a major play a major part with this fungus, the spores themselves are spread by water splashing, so it’s worse in a wet summer, of course we never get a wet summer do we!


  Powdery mildew

The mildews! There are 2 that can effect roses, one is more common than the other one, so let’s first of all look at the worst problem I think that faces roses and that’s
Powdery Mildew, Podosphaera pannosa. As the name suggests, it forms a white powdery fungus over the buds, leaves and new growth. This can cause the infected flower buds to fail and shrivel up and die, new growth can be deformed and have the vigour reduced, which in the case of rambling roses, where the new growth is so important for the plant flowering next year, can cause major problems. Unlike blackspot, it prefers a humid hot summer, with the plants being more susceptible during periods of dry spells

Downy mildew

Downy Mildew, peronospora sparsa, is not commonly found on garden plants more within a nursery system where the plants are grown so close together. Unlike powdery mildew it prefers a hot humid conditions with 85% humidity and temperatures over 80f, when it does happen however it’s the worse out of the lot, totally defoliating the plants, biggest problem is that it looks like blackspot. Biggest diffenence is the speed of defoliation on the plants and the spots from downy mildew are more squared than the more circular spots of black spot. Just thankfull it isn’t a major problem in the uk

Rust (Annie Irving)

Lastly there is rust, Phragmidium tuberculatum, it can appear from early spring and be around all summer, it will not kill the plant as it can only live on live material. It forms orange pustules on affected growth and mottling on the leaves, they turn black by late summer, it is probably the least worst of all the fungus we have talked about.

Treating the above problems isn’t just a simple one of mixing up a cocktail of chemicals and spraying them but is indeed a combination of many things that all put together, can reduce the impact of the fungus attacks. First thing is good husbandry, in the autumn, pick up all the fallen leaves and either burn them or add to the green waste bags, second part has to be the main prune during the later winter months. This main pruning does quite a few things to help disease control, it should open up the roses well and encourage good air flow through the plant, this helps to stop the spores resting on the foliage and stems, it should also encourage stronger more healthier shoots from the plant and remove any badly infected wood. It also reduces the amount of wood within the plant again reducing the amount of wood the spores can rest on.


The third thing is the feeding and mulching of the roses in the spring, a mix of vitax Q4 and a good feed mulch like composted green waste, home produced compost and well rotted manure. Please see my old blog on doing this. this again helps to produce good healthy soil, with all the friendly fungus, bacteria in the soil, a good healthy soil will produce a healthy and strong growing rose and a healthy strong growing rose is once more resistant to fungal attacks. The mulch helps to keep the moisture in the soil, which helps to stop plants drying out too much and once more being understress, that again can allow fungus to gain a hold once more. Spreading the feed and mulch over the whole bed rather than just around the base of the rose, also encourages the roots of the Rose to spread over the whole bed, meaning the plant is more able to have a wider pick up are for water and nutrients. After the main flush of flowers in June, I will then feed the soil once more with blood fish and bonemeal this time, this helps the plants produce their second flush of leaves and new growth as well.

The fourth and final part has to be the regular spraying and treatment of the foliage of the Rose during the rose season. This should be ideally carried out from April-September every 10-14 days. Firstly only really rust, black spot and powdery mildew can be treated this way, Downy mildew has its own problem and shall deal with that lastly. Now what to spray? For the domestic garden the choice is a little more limited to the following,  tebuconazole (Bayer Fungus Fighter Concentrate), tebuconazole with trifloxystrobin (Bayer Fungus Fighter Plus), and triticonazole (Scotts Fungus Clear Ultra), there are a few others that are used for spraying roses but I don’t like to use insecticide within the garden, the damage too non problematic insects is too great for me personally. The trick is to use each one every other time so the fungus doesn’t have time to build up a resistance to the spray. At the same time it’s worth adding a foliage feed like potassium phosphite (uncle toms Rose tonic) and liquid seaweed. These help to feed the leaves and in the case of potassium phosphite, encourage strong healthy growth on the plant that’s a lot tougher and again much harder for the fungus to get hold onto the plant. Indeed over the past few years, I have dropped using fungicides on the roses and just use both the uncle toms Rose tonic and liquid seaweed. The results have been very good, with clients saying they haven’t seeen their roses looking so healthy, yes there’s a little bit of blackspot sometimes but it’s only a small amount. Mildew can be a problem of ramblers that put on a lot of growth in the summer, so I do tend to carry on with the fungicides with them. There are other products that I am trying at home to see the results before recommending them. Only one that’s a problem is downy mildew and sadly there’s no real treatment available to the public to buy, but it is so rare, so tends not to be a problem. Ideally this should be sprayed with a low pressure sprayer with a fine mist and sprayed until the leaves are throughly soaked until it ‘runs off’ both the surface and underneath of the leaves should be sprayed. It’s worth remembering to use the right safety equipment when spraying roses regularly just to help you avoid prolonged exposure to any chemicals, organic or non organic and if spraying climbers, please wear some form of eye protection. One other thing I think helps is underplanting the roses with other plants. I feel that they provide both a small ‘wind ‘ break between the roses which helps with the dieseases that’s spread via the wind and also with blackspot that is spread by water splashes, it acts as a deflector for the rain, both as it falls and also as it bounces once it hits the ground, both of which helps to cut down the area the water droplets will tend to hit.

Other methods have been used to treat powdery mildew, include mixing oil, milk into water, this tends to coat the leaves of the roses in a thin layer of dried oil or milk and this stops the spores resting on the leaves of the plant, sulphur is another  old treatment that works well on black spot. I have tried them in the past, have found the results ok but not as good as my current methods. Other things like choosing a more resistant form of Rose can help, but please be aware than it can still become infected by one disease or another at sometime.

One  small note, I am not too worried what the plant looks like after it finishes its main flower time in late June early July, it has a 2-3 week spell of looking pretty aweful, nothing you can do about it, they are just worn out after putting so much effort into producing beautiful flowers for us to enjoy, they just need a little break, within a couple of weeks, new growth will push though and the Rose will start to look beautiful once more .

I hope this helps you to produce healthy roses this summer

I would also like to say a big thank you to Annie Irving for the use of the rose rust picture!

rose de resht (2).JPG

Job of the week-tying in climbers 

Well it’s not so much of a job of the week, but more of a job for almost every week for the next 4-6months, Although it’s a simple job, it’s an important one, even more so on the more vigorous climbers like Clematis and roses. It stops the new growths being broken and damaged, also gets them going into places you want them too! I use nutscene 3 ply twine and just tie in the new growths roughly where I want them using a over hand knot and done. It’s well worth checking them every week and one word of warning, becareful the young growths can be rather delicate and easy to break. One other advantage of doing this, is that you can check on the health of the plant at the same time as tying in