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The world's favourite rose


by Adam Pasco

How could anyone choose the world's favourite rose? Well, they have! And the winner is one of my all-time favourites...


Rosa 'Graham Thomas'How could anyone choose the world's favourite rose? Well, they have! And the winner is one of my all-time favourites - Rosa 'Graham Thomas'.

National rose societies belonging to the World Federation of Rose Societies have been voting - 41 of them in total, representing over 100,000 rose lovers - and their decision certainly carries weight. First introduced in 1983, 'Graham Thomas' was bred by rosarian David Austin. His rose breeding programme aimed to combine the best qualities of old roses, such as flower form, colour and scent, with the repeat-flowering characteristics and performance of new varieties. This was admirably captured in 'Graham Thomas', one of his first English roses.

I was charmed by 'Graham Thomas' from the moment I set eyes on it. I grow it in a border close to the house, where I can admire it in full bloom from my kitchen window. It has rich yellow cup-shaped blooms that fade to pale yellow, a colour rarely found in old roses. The upright habit of 'Graham Thomas' means it stands head and shoulders above the lower perennials around it, reaching about 1.5m this summer. I'm told it will grow taller, perhaps reaching 2.4m, if trained to an arch or pillar.

And yes, as all good roses should, it produces a delicate tea rose scent.

For those who don't know, the late Graham Thomas was a horticulturist, garden writer and rose enthusiast. Graham was a frequent visitor to David Austin's nursery in Albrighton, in Oxfordshire, and their strong friendship was clearly acknowledged when David named this rose in his honour.

I've loved Rosa 'Graham Thomas' for many years, but it's reassuring to know that I'm in such good company, and the world's most passionate rose lovers share my enthusiasm.



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Gardeners' World Web User 04/08/2009 at 09:46

I'm so glad I bought "Graham Thomas" just after he died - to commemorate him, as most of my plants in my garden had been recommended by him in his books, which I still find invaluable. Mine too is about 1.5 metres and is very florific.

Gardeners' World Web User 04/08/2009 at 15:41

I'm not sure if this is the right place to blog this but - strange request - I'm trying to decide on a name for the yellow labrador puppy who will shortly be making his home with us. I'd love a name that reflects our interest in nature/gardening. He was born in July so I wondered about a July yellow flowering plant/tree. Any suggestions? Thanks

Gardeners' World Web User 04/08/2009 at 16:20

Sweet idea! I can only think of herby things right now - like Basil and Parsley. We have a chocolate labrador that was very nearly called Senna (after Ayrton, not the plants, in fact), but he's ended up as Merlin.

Gardeners' World Web User 04/08/2009 at 17:01

Thanks for responding. I can't disassociate Basil with Faulty Towers and wouldn't want to be confused with Sybil as I call the dog in the park! Will put Parsley to other half for vetting (no pun intended!)It's much easier to think of a name for a female dog but I have great faith in the Gardeners' World bloggers to help me out!! Thanks again.

Gardeners' World Web User 05/08/2009 at 18:50

How about GT for your dog's name? Pronounced 'geety' it fits nicely with the blog on the world's favourite rose 'Graham Thomas', abbreviated to GT. Also, the rose and the labrador are both yellow!

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