Scents and sensibility; THE GAZETTE SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6, GARDENS With Carol Klein of TV's Gardeners' World A pure symbol of love, inspiring poetry and painting through the ages, nothing is more enchanting or mysterious as the rose ask Carol.
THINK of a shrub, healthy and branching with glossy dark green leaves and masses of voluptuous satin-petalled flowers in an array of colours, from glamorous Hollywood red to palest pastel pink.
Sometimes flowers are simple, single and straightforward with a powder puff of quivering stamens at their heart. In other cases they may be so full they seem impenetrable and mysterious. They are loaded with perfume, yet scents can vary from honey to spice, apple to myrrh.
| Rosa Its care is simple - an occasional prune, regular dead-heading and a gentle feed. In a few cases, flowers will gradually turn themselves into decorative hips.
It is, of course, the rose. There are climbing roses, standard roses and hybrid teas but increasingly it is shrub roses that gardeners desire.
Throughout history, mankind has cherished shrub roses. The rose figured large in all the ancient civilisations, from Egypt to Greece to Rome from the Minoan to the Mesopotamian. In the Far East, too, the rose was revered. It was used in religious ceremonies, in cookery, in perfumery.
| 'Shropshire. The rose developed simultaneously in different places but at a similar time - 40 million years ago. Its breeding at the hand of man is seldom documented, though there are clues.
In AD77, Pliny, the Roman author and botanist, recorded 10 or more different roses in cultivation. Some were chance hybrids but it is likely deliberate crosses were engineered.
The gallica rose was cultivated for medicinal use and is called the apothecary's rose. It was brought back to England from the Middle East by crusaders and gave rise to other roses, including the alba roses, probably a cross with Rosa canina, our own wild dog rose.
Mundi Later, on the Isle de Reunion in the Indian Ocean where traders and merchants from East and West settled, bringing their roses with them, spontaneous hybridisation took place, resulting in an entirely new race of roses.
Most significantly, these new flowers - the bourbon roses - continued to flower for months on end. Until then, the rose season had been a short one, with just one flush of bloom lasting no more than a few weeks. Later, yellow roses imported from Persia and China broadened the spectrum of colour. All the elements needed to make brilliant roses were there but it is only in recent years that they have all been brought together with the help of scientific understanding combined with Lad' vision, aesthetic sensibility and a desire to produce roses that would do well for all of us.
One of the major proponents is David Austin whose range of English Roses is second to none.
They are bred to be robust, long-flowering and scented and cover a range of colour and form.
Many incorporate the charm of the old roses, the bourbons, damasks, gallicas and centifolias we associate with the romantic idyll of a rose garden, but bring them up to date.
Rosa "Gertrude Jekyll", named for a famed horticulturist, is deep pink with a cabbage rose effect becoming fuller and more sensuous as it opens.
Her garden was Munstead Wood and there is a rose named after that, too. It is enchanting, with full deep crimson velvety petals and a warm, fruity scent.
One of the best is Rosa "Graham Thomas", an unusual warm yellow with abundant flowers. It is named after the great rosarian responsible for collecting many old varieties and growing them at Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire.
The Rose Labyrinth at Coughton Court in Warwickshire boasts more than 200 varieties. It is the most romantic garden ever and to be in its midst on a sunny summer's day is paradise.
Here you'll find so many old varieties that tell the story of the rose. Rosa Mundi, striped pink and white, named after the beautiful mistress of Henry II who was poisoned by Henry's jealous queen.
There are gallica roses like "Charles de Mills" with chopped off blooms in dark crimson.
And with Valentine's Day a week QWE'VE got two rhododendrons but they're in the wrong place. Can we safely move them? - Gladys Pugh ARHODODENDRONS have shallow mats of fine, fibrous roots and are fairly easy to move if they're not too big. Get their new home ready, then dig as big a root ball as you can, put it on a compost bag and drag it to its new site.
QI WORK in a big office and would love a plant to brighten up my desk. What would survive? It's mainly artificial light.
- Raymond Bridges ASPIDER plant, Chlorophytum comosum, is the usual recommendation. But with low light levels, ivies are a good bet. Chinese evergreen, aglaonema, is easy and helps clean the air.
Pretty healthy parsley with added curl power garden at the moment is our moss-curled parsley.
Despite the strange winter weather, it has gone from strength to strength. We've been able to pick it frequently.
Once upon a time we preferred to grow flat-leaved varieties but the taste of moss-curled parsley is just as good and it looks prettier, too.
The great gardener Christopher Lloyd used it as a bedding plant mixed with marigolds - inspired.
Both flat-leaved and moss-curled have the same health benefits - they're good for your bones and help cleanse liver and kidneys.
| Cleanser... Moss-curled parsley
| Rosa Mundi
| 'Shropshire Lad'
| 'Graham Thomas'
| Munstead Wood
| Sensuous... Rosa 'Gertrude Jekyll' PICTURE: Jonathan Buckley