Rose nurseries make a big deal about the Rose of the Year - and quite right too. Each year they all vote on the best new rose and it's launched at the Tudor Rose Festival here at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The winner for 2010 has just been announced - Absolutely Fabulous ('Wekvossutono') introduced by C & K Jones.
Absolutely Fabulous is a yellow Floribunda (Cluster Flowered) rose with a lovely flower form and a very distinctive fragrance.
Reaching about 75cm/30in in height, the flowers open into a delightful flat form in the old-fashioned style, shading from pale primrose at the outer edges to old gold in the centre. And the fragrance is a very unusual combination of sweetness and licorice.
Raised in California by the world rose famous hybridist Tom Carruth of Weeks Roses, it has been tested in Britain for three years to ensure that it thrives in our climate.
‘We've been the UK agent for Weeks Roses for about twenty years," Keith Jones told me. "When we first received roses from California to trial we found that many just didn't like our climate - they defoliated or they suffered in the wet. But Tom soon began breeding with our conditions in mind, selecting parents that he learned would produce roses that grew well here. Of course we still test them thoroughly before they're introduced.
"Absolutely Fabulous flowers from June to November (or the first hard frost)," he said. "The flower colour is fantastic and it's very disease free all over Britain."
The 2010 Rose of the Year, Absolutely Fabulous ('Wekvossutono'), was launched yesterday by Henry the Eighth at the Tudor Rose Festival here at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. It's availble by mail order from C & K Jones and many other rose nurseries in the autumn.
By the way: in the United States Absolutely Fabulous is known as Julia Child - selected by, and named for, the much loved TV cook.