Amazing! Despite the coolness and the rain, at noon today, Rosa ‘Mrs Oakley-Fisher‘ burst into flower- roll of drums etc etc. It feels like a roll of drums is required, because, as I commented in an earlier post, it seemed to me that she wouldn’t make it after a torrid first year with no flowering at all.
What can I say? Golden-warm apricot flowers that seem to put others in the apricot category in the shade, and bright red new growth that adds to the fun. Stand aside, Buff Beauty, I say. Though Mrs Oakley-Fisher is a compact plant so far, though maybe in California, aka Annie’s Annuals, she gets bigger.
Who was she? Only one photograph exists, of a woman taking her responsibilities seriously , named for one of the first women to be elected to the National Rose Council in 1921. She was from Sudbury, in Suffolk, and the rose was bred probably by Cecil E. Cant, the son of the famous rosarian, Benjamin R. Cant, of Colchester, only 16 miles from Sudbury. Cants dominated the rose breeding world of England in the late nineteenth century, established in 1765, by 1880 they were the leading rose exhibitor.
The rose dates from 1921, when it was first exhibited, and pretty soon Vita Sackville-West was growing it at Sissinghurst, and giving away cuttings to friends, such as the incomparable Christopher Lloyd, who grew it at Great Dixter, where you can still see it.
I am so thrilled that she has made it- and yes, today I learnt that it is Oakley-Fisher with a hyphen.