One advantage of being located at Marylebone Library is its proximity to Regents Park, beyond the Marylebone Road traffic fumes. After enjoying crocuses and other spring flowers it is now floral blockbuster time at the Queen Mary’s Rose Garden.
To be honest I am not too inspired by the beds of a specific rose variety grown en masse. Yes, it is impressive to see “carpets” of brightly coloured flowers but this disguises the fact that the plant is nothing to write home about minus its floral wow factor (which admittedly in massed beds does intensify the plants’ scent).
It also does not help their cause that many hybrid tea roses are named after celebrities or sponsors eg “Redox Bouquet” – names that are hardly in keeping with the rose’s romantic and poetical associations.
This makes it seem I am not a rose fan. Not true! There are many climbing, rambling, wild and shrub roses which I consider attractive plants. An example of a rambling variety, ‘Rambling Rector’, is one of several varieties trained here on the ropes slung between posts to provide a dramatic garden feature. The posts and ropes frame the central circle containing the rose beds.
The garden also contains a number of varieties of shrub roses. These have a much better natural shape and therefore can be better fitted into a general planting scheme. Amongst the examples of historic varieties are a number of more recent varieties bred by the grower David Austin. Further examples of David Austin English roses can also be found nearby at Paddington Street Gardens South.
Lurking in curved border north-west of the central circular rose garden I was fortunate I discover another rose bred by David Austin “Kew Gardens“. I was so taken by the simple flowers and its useful habit of repeat flowering that I plan to include it to my new garden. There is not a strong perfume from the flowers but as it is a thornless rose one can approach the flowers closely to sniff without injury. It can be used for informal hedging and this effect can be seen here at Regents Park.
For anyone interested in growing roses check out the Library Catalogue for advice and inspiration. Remember you don’t need to travel to another library to pick up a copy. Simply reserve the copy from the catalogue and specify your home branch as the pickup location (there is a small charge for reservations – but it’s cheaper than the bus!).
If you’re now feeling inspired to grow roses, do use the useful RHS online resource Plant Finder to seek out nursery sources for your chosen variety.