Posted by: christinelaennec | June 16, 2012


We’re experiencing a very cold spring, but perhaps because of summery weather that came in March, my roses have bloomed nearly a month earlier than usual.  I rarely have roses in bloom before the end of June, but they are flowering even in this very cool weather (about 47F/8C today).  And here is one of my very most favourite roses, Gertrude Jekyll:

Gertrude Jekyll rose.

This rose was bred by David Austin Roses, and is an English rose.  It’s a tall plant, and the scent of the open roses is incredible.  Because it’s so cold here even in summer, you need to put your nose right into them to appreciate their scent, but indoors their scent can fill the room.

This rose was named after the famous early-20th-century garden designer Gertrude Jekyll, who revolutionised garden design.  She invented the idea of planting in swathes, and of “cool” and “hot” colourways in garden borders.  She worked closely with the architect Edwin Lutyens, designing gardens that complemented his house designs.

Her last name is pronounced JEE-cull.  I’d always heard the title of the famous Robert Louis Stevenson novel, Jekyll & Hyde, pronounced JEK-kle.  But I see from the Gertrude Jekyll estate website that Stevenson knew her brother, so perhaps I should now be thinking of JEE-cull & Hyde.  Do let me know if you know!

I don’t imagine the roses care how you pronounce their name, though.



  1. What a very beautiful rose, I can almost imagine the glorious scent. I didn’t know about that pronunciation, I’ve been thinking t was JEK-kle all my life.

  2. Now that is a beautiful rose! How fascinating that Stevenson knew Gertrude’s brother! Perhaps it really should be Jee-cull & Hyde after all. Let me know if you ever find out!

  3. Lovely rose. I am just a beginner with roses. Never had them before coming here. But my amateurish pruning seems to have worked and they are all in bud and one is flowering, and smells lovely. So how do you identify the rose? Unless it has a label on of course!

  4. Oh, I wish I loved gardening. I LOVE flowers, but not dirt. Weird, hunh?

  5. Beautiful flower. It’s still cold here, had on day of 23 degrees!!! At least it is dry. xx

  6. I know exactly the scent of that rose, as I have her twin in my garden! She is all in bloom right now and filling the air with her scent. When I tend to her, I will be thinking of you! xx

  7. I have this rose in my garden too and it is one of my favourites. The scent wafts around the garden and makes it smell like a garden should! I read a biography of Gertrude Jekyll and, from what I can remember, she used to say it was ‘Jekyll as in treacle’! I still call it Jekyll (like heckle) and Hyde but then I have only just started calling Boadicea, Boudica :0)

    I have some other David Austin roses but none of them are as glorious as Gertie.

  8. Gorgeous – and not dripping with rain!
    Yes, earlier roses here too, despite the dreary temperatures.

  9. Christine, we are having a cool rainy spring as well in the Portland, OR, area; and my Joseph’s Coat rose bushes are in bud but not yet in bloom [although we are in the final days of the Rose Festival here :)] I can imagine that your GJ roses smell lovely as they are so pretty! It will be interesting to discover just how one is to pronounce their name.
    Gracie ❤

  10. i love roses! i have a couple of bushes in my garden and they are just starting to come out now. with all the rain we’ve been having, one of them has become very tall and i’m not sure how i’m going to cut the roses off it!

  11. I also have a Gertrude Jekyll from David Austin, but mine isn’t doing nearly as well as yours. And you’re right – they do smell wonderful. I’ve never been sure about the pronunciation in the case of Dr J, and now I suspect you’re right and it may be the same as with Gertrude.

  12. […] Gertrude! ( […]

  13. Gertrude, make a detour chez moi and say hello to Albertine (a jeune fille en fleurs)

  14. We’ve visited Hestercombe in Taunton Somerset. A very lovely garden in part designed by Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens – well worth a visit.

  15. I have one of these too, I think it is very popular as it is so gorgeous with the most divine scent. Sun is shining today and it is much warmer x

  16. I am fond of David Austin roses, and Gertrude is simply lovely! I may have to get her for myself. 🙂 It’s 85 degrees here today, so I think our dool days are behind us!

  17. Gertrude is simply lovely! Its scent is often described as being the quintessential old rose fragrance. 🙂
    Happy week.

  18. I can almost get a whiff of the roses from here! They are lovely. Would love to have a rose garden here.

  19. Dear everyone,
    My apologies, I completely forgot to acknowledge your comments, as I like to do. Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed Gertrude. The jury is obviously still out on how you pronounce Dr. Jekyll’s name.

    Jill, you asked how I identify the roses. Being a complete flower nerd, I use rose catalogues and also a hefty volume given to me that’s an RHS encylopedia of plants and flowers. Sometimes, if these fail, I resort to the internet. I also like to visit rose gardens and see the names of roses.

    Or you could just enjoy them without knowing their names! I learned the hard way that there is a certain danger to this, though. When we first came to our house, with its “established garden” I trimmed all the roses back hard in February, as I had always done. It slowly dawned on me that not all the roses were tea roses (the only kind I had been acquainted with) and that I had given the poor English shrub roses far more of a trim than they should have had. But they recovered, Gertrude being a case in point.

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