OLD OR NEW?
Are modern roses better than the old-fashioned varieties? First things first, the perceived wisdom that ‘modern roses don’t smell like the old ones’ simply isn’t true. Yes, some very old varieties and rose species have strong scents, but many of today’s modern roses have exceptional scents, as well as being healthier, too. And a healthy rose is likely to produce more flowers, which means even more scent! So if you’re looking for a healthy rose, that produces flowers over a long period in summer and has fantastic fragrance, then new varieties of rose are the best place to start.
Of course, roses sold as ‘old-fashioned’ do have their own beauty, but because most only flower once in summer they’re something of an indulgence in the garden, especially as many of them make reasonably large plants. But if you’ve room, try the dark purple, scented, rosette-flowered ‘Charles de Mills’ or one of the tough rugosa roses such as ‘Roseraie de ‘l’Haÿ’, which has the sweetest of perfumes.
‘Dame Judi Dench’