Tony Dickerson answers your questions
Can you identify our mystery rose?
Can you name our climbing rose? Frances Bunyan, Caerphilly, South Wales
With more than 10,000 registered roses, unless you know the rose’s name, identification is usually impossible without comparing fresh, flowering specimens with plants in a large reference collection.
‘Lady Hillingdon’ is a possibility because it matches your description and is heavily fragrant, but there are probably dozens of others that would be similar.
There are other ways you can still try to identify the rose yourself. It may be possible for you to match your rose to one in a living collection. Consider visiting a specialist rose garden, such as David Austin Rose Gardens in the West Midlands, Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire or Peter Beales Rose Garden in Norfolk.
Most specialist rose nurseries have searchable online catalogues where you can use various filters to narrow down the search. As well as the nurseries mentioned above the following sites are useful: Harkness Roses, Apuldram Roses, C & K Jones Roses and Fryer’s Roses.
You might find a match by comparing your rose with pictures in books. However, when comparing roses with pictures in books or online you should be aware that colour photos of images can be unreliable. Also bear in mind that rose flowers change in shape and colour as they mature.
Useful references include the RHS Encyclopedia of Roses by Charles and Brigid Quest-Ritson, Classic Roses (an illustrated handbook and grower’s manual of old roses, shrub roses and climbers) by Peter Beales and Botanica’s Roses – The Encyclopedia of Roses.
As a last thought, if you could get some hardwood cuttings of the current year’s growth from your previous property you could simply propagate it by inserting these into some well-prepared ground.
Ideally, dig over and insert a spade to full depth. Push it back and forward to create a deep V-shaped trench about 5cm (2in) across and pour in sharp sand before inserting the cuttings to three-quarters of their length. In 12 months they should be ready to lift and grow on.
‘Lady Hillingdon’ is a heavily-scented repeat-flowerer for a high wall or fence
Why not propagate your rose and bring it with you when you move house?