Plant of the Week: Rosa Cécile Brϋnner

The scents of summer are beginning to hang in the warm air – honeysuckle, jasmine, and roses. This wonderful rose offers a fragrance both sweet and fresh. The flowers emerge tightly bound and open into small pom-poms of soft pink, covering the whole plant – which, in the case of the climbing form, means many square metres.

The flowers on the bush form are identical, and have the great advantage of being borne throughout the season, whereas the climber usually exhausts itself in one main effort. But what a sight that effort provides! The biggest disadvantage of the climbing form is its vicious thorns. It is odd that such a ferocious beast could be cloned from a bush which is virtually thornless.  The climber puts out long whip-growths to tear your skin or your clothes as soon as you step close to enjoy those scented little pom-poms. Hidden behind sweet beckoning Cécile lurks the fearsome dominatrix Frau Brϋnner, as described in Swinburne’s poem Dolores:

O mystical rose of the mire,
O house not of gold but of gain
O house of unquenchable fire,
Our Lady of Pain!