It’s rose season, again, and the first off the rank for this year is Elizabeth Harkness.
Looking at how beautiful this rose is, I wondered why I hadn’t noticed it before.
My reading revealed a few reasons. Firstly, I read that this rose is best in cool climates which the summer in the South West of Western Australia is not. Secondly, its beautiful blooms tend to fade to an ivory (read “off”) white as the temperatures rise. So, during the heat of the previous summers when I have been seeking a pretty rose to photograph, Elizabeth Harkness would not have been at her best.
Given the above, Elizabeth Harkness is going to be at her best in my garden in early Spring before the heat really takes hold. But, and it is a big “but”, in early Spring, some bloody beetle attacks many of my rose buds. And, it appears, these very beetles prefer light, fragrant rose buds. What hope does Elizabeth Harkness have?
When at its best, Elizabeth Harkness bears large, shapely blooms on long stems. The blooms are pearly white, with buff, yellow and pink tones. Its colour is variable according to the season and weather conditions. It, reportedly, has a strong fragrance but I would say it is, at best, light. The foliage is dark green and, supposedly, abundant but my bush is rather thinly clad and not at all vigorous.
Elizabeth Harkness is described as a refined rose with some of the form and delicacy of Ophelia. Check out the link. I am sure you will notice the similarity.
Elizabeth Harkness was bred by Harkness in the UK and introduced in 1969. The rose is named after the breeder’s daughter to mark her 21st birthday.
It is a very popular rose for cool climates but, probably, not the best choice here in the West.