Rosa ‘Irish Elegance’ is a well-named cultivar for its six petals lie almost flat save for the under-curl at their edge and the unfurling bud has a stately poise. It dates from 1905 and came to us from the Royal Irish Nurseries in Newtownards, Co Down owned by Alex Dickson and was then a well-recommended variety. The Nursery catalogue describes it as a ‘gem of the first water’ and a plant that stood out ‘even in the midst of our seedling quarters’.

This hybrid tea begins to flower in early summer and continues throughout the year until late autumn. The bud colour is mainly a deep apricot while the open flower is in various shades of the same, with an occasional deeper splash of pink/orange. It is a vigorous cultivar and will reward its owner once well pruned, fed and deadheaded during the growing season.

Rosa ‘Irish Elegance’ was last listed with the RHS Plant Finder in 2004 so ever more important that we root cuttings and distribute the resulting plants. Semi-hardwood cuttings root well so, when cutting a bud for the vase, take an extra length of stem for rooting.

(As appeared in Newsletter 149, July 2020. Text and photo courtesy of Brendan Sayers)