Gertrude Jekyll, Austin 1986, breeding: seedling X Comte de Chambord
'Gertrude Jekyll' is one of the nicest of the 1980's roses from Mr. Austin. It is a cross of one of his own pinks, Wife of Bath and the Portland rose, 'Comte de Chambord'. This is one of the most complained about of the English roses, and yet it can be very beautiful when it likes where it is growing. Mine seems to like where it is, because in it's first season in a raised bed, it has produced at least 25 blooms and there are many more still to open! Some growers find that Gertrude is very hesitant to flower, and the solution for that is to either prune new growth to 1/2 length, or peg the tips of the long canes to the ground. This will help to encourage more blooms.
Anyway, I find this to be a beautiful rose that responds well to good conditions and generous treatment. The scent is powerful, and one of the nicest of all of my roses. I would grow it for this quality alone.
Note: as of 2003 I no longer grow this rose. It has proven to be stingy with bloom, an awkward grower and far too susceptible to Blackspot. I would recommend its parent 'Comte de Chambord' with much greater enthusiasm. However, the 'Comte' will not be any better for disease resistance in some regions; as they say, mileage may vary.
ARS merit rating: none assigned
Personal merit rating: 6.0
Hardiness: USDA zones 5 to 8, possibly zone 4 in a protected location.
Shrub size: 3 to 7 feet tall, depending on climate
Fragrance: 4.0 Intense Damask scent!
Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 1996-2004