Great Maiden's Blush
(Rosa alba 'Maiden's Blush' )
Compared with the tidy shapes, softer colors and subtler perfumes of most modern roses, the Albas are sensuous "all out" bloomers", lighting up the garden for only for a few days in June, but seeming to fill the whole world with their heady intoxicating fragrance. The Great Maiden's Blush is the queen of them all, and when I get anywhere near it at this time of the year, I am carried away entirely.
Eminent rose scholar and legendary garden designer Sir Graham Thomas (O.B.E., V.M.H., D.H.M., V.M.M.) once wrote of my rose that her blooms are “intense, intoxicating and delicious . . . my senses have not yet found the means of conveying to my pen their qualities.” Sir Graham was passionate about old roses, and he saved many heritage varieties from certain extinction - the man is one of my heroes.
The Albas are ancients, and they may be the most beautiful roses ever to have bloomed on the earth. Disease free and winter hardy in this northern (almost sub-arctic) climate with its short intense summers and long bitter winters, this one has lived in our garden since a neighbor decided to dig his up many years ago and replace it with more modern shrubberies. There it lay abandoned on his rubbish tip, and I was overjoyed to discover it and bring it home to my garden.