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English roses

It was sunny and warm this morning in Portland, Oregon - we've been waiting for a morning like this for about eight months - and walking out I found these English roses, bred by David Austin, within a quarter mile of each other.

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If the tag is correct, Graham Thomas, doing its best for a telephone pole. This is David Austin's idea of a "short climber". The scent is sweet with a citrus center. The colour is richer than the photo shows.

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The Graham Thomas is a tribute to a plantsman beyond compare. Thomas seemed to know more about plants than anyone, and his passion for plants - his real love of them - swept everyone else along.

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Gertrude Jekyll in Lena's garden.

We've described Gertrude here . She was the fairy godmother of the English garden.

About the Gertrude Jekyll rose Austin says, "The flowers start as perfect little scrolled buds and soon open into the most beautiful, large, rosette-shaped flowers of rich glowing pink. The growth is upright and vigorous and in every way reliable", like Gertrude herself.

I try to imagine the time and care that Austin took to breed a rose with these characteristics. Working since he was a young man, he has brought hundreds of beautiful, scented roses into gardens. Lovely.

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