x-Gertrude Jekyll - David Austin Rose
The large, double flowers of 'Gertrude Jekyll' are a delightful glowing pink and bloom on this upright vigorous rose repeatedly throughout the summer and into the early autumn. The many petals spiral around the centre of the flower, reaching a deeper pink in the middle and it is often described as one of the most beautiful pink roses, but it is equally prized for its classic, old fashioned rose fragrance.
A sturdy grower it is happy at the back of the border or clothing a pergola or wall and only reaches 6' in height so doesn't get out of hand like some, but it is best planted around a door or window, anywhere that you can appreciate its amazing scent. Cut flowers for a vase in the house to enjoy its perfume indoors too.
'Gertrude Jekyll' has good disease resistance and can be grown in sun or partial shade – it is much more tolerant of shade than many others and as with all roses it is easy to grow and will live for many years if cared for, just remember these are hungry, thirsty plants.
It will be happy in almost all soil, provided it is well drained, give it the best start by enriching the soil before planting and digging in lots of well rotted garden compost or manure. Dig a hole a spades depth and twice the width of the rootball and carefully tease out the roots before planting, to encourage them to grow outwards and look for water in the soil. Use a cane to establish where the top of the hole is in relation to the graft union on the stem – this is the lump where the rose has been joined to its rootstock and should be level with the soil surface.
Roses are naturally deep rooted and once established need little water from us but help it along in its first few years and don't let it dry out, especially in hot summers. Give it a boost in the spring by sprinkling the soil with rose fertiliser and forking this in, and mulching with compost.
Prune lightly after flowering in summer and cut back a few older stems each year to promote young, string growth,, but wear gloves, 'Gertrude Jekyll' is very thorny! Roses may struggle if they are planted in the same spot where an old rose has previously grown and suffer from a disease called rose sickness or replant disease. Avoid this by planting in a new site entirely or dig in fresh soil at least 45cm deep, in the old spot.
A rose as beautiful as this will grow with almost anything, looking striking with mixed shrub plantings such as hydrangeas, philadelphus and perovskia. It will look equally stunning amongst a cottage border with perennials like verbena bonariensis, centaurea, monarda and delphinium or on its own clothing a decorative arch. Just be sure to grow it where you can smell its beautiful scent.