In his book Climbing Roses Old and New, the late Graham Stuart Thomas described this rose as ‘quite overpowering in flower both from the quantity of blossom and the delicious multiflora fragrance’. Other growers describe Rosa ‘Rambling Rector’ as ‘a very old cultivar with large clusters of fragrant semi-double flowers, creamy to begin with, then opening white with yellow centres’. The flowers, produced during the summer, are followed by small red hips in the autumn and winter. According to sources, this rose was introduced by Thomas Smith of Daisy Hill Nursery fame, appearing in his 1912 catalogue, and is rumoured to be a ‘foundling’ from a vicarage garden.
We think it is a beautiful rose and grow it on a shady fence that separates the lane that leads to the back of the greenhouse from our small potager. From a humble beginning as a small pot grown specimen, it developed quite quickly into a good size – it can reach 20 feet by 15 feet as it approaches maturity. Graham Stuart Thomas stated that the rose is ‘thorny, impenetrable, and impossible to prune’ but we have managed to keep it in check by giving it a trim when it starts to become too invasive.
‘Rambling Rector’ can be obtained from a good number of nurseries that provide a mail order service including well-known suppliers such as David Austin (www.davidaustinroses.co.uk) or Peter Beales Roses (www.classicroses.co.uk) but a good place to start is your local garden centre or nursery as this is a popular rose.
(As appeared in Newsletter 148, April 2020. Text courtesy of Peter Milligan and photos by Nicola Milligan)