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Ah, the rose!  Voted Britain’s favourite flower; not surprising really with several thousand different varieties to choose from. 

We’re all familiar with the romance of the red rose but what about the wonders of the white one?

Contrary to popular belief some roses grow well in part shade (as long as they get at least 4 hours light during the course of the day) and white brings a shady space alight.  White flowers also make a great backdrop for other coloured flowers as well as creating a restful, soothing atmosphere on hot sunny days, especially when combined with a green leaf backdrop.

To inspire you, here are a selection of my top 14 white must haves…

‘Winchester Cathedral’

This English Rose is a winner as not only is it early flowering, but the pure white, ruffled blooms are also highly scented.  It grows to about 1.2m by 1.2m and is suitable for a mixed flower border as well as looking lovely with wild flowers such as ox-eye daisies.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South, West or East-facing
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay or loam

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‘Iceberg’

Bred in the 1960’s this classic is available as both a shrub and a climber!  Great value for money as it not only flowers for months on end but is also smothered in lightly fragrant blooms.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South, West or East-facing
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

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‘Bianco’

If you don’t have much space, then why not try this sweet little patio rose? It only grows to 45cm x 45cm, and is covered in small, pure white double flowers.  The trade-off is no fragrance, but in return it will flower from early summer well into the autumn.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South, West or East-facing
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

‘White Flower Carpet’

If it’s a compact growing ground cover rose you’re looking for with pure white flowers, then this is the one for you.  It’s super healthy and although its flowers look like Rambling Rector don’t be alarmed this variety will only grow 60cm x 60cm.

• Sun – Full sun or part sun
• Position – South, West, North or East-facing
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

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‘Partridge’

You don’t need a pear tree to grow this very versatile rose!  Another healthy rose that gives off a gorgeous clove fragrance from its small, single white flowers for several weeks.  It’s sold as ground cover but as its stems can easily reach 2m you could train this rose up that pear, or any other tree, or let it cascade down a wall.  It’s practically evergreen with small, shiny leaves as well as tiny orange hips from autumn into winter.

• Sun – Full sun or part sun
• Position – South, West, North or East-facing
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

‘Adelaide d’Orleans’

One of the most magnificent rambling roses you’re ever likely to encounter.  Cascades of pinky white buds opening to medium size, semi double petal flowers adorn this rose during mid-summer. They have a light scent but the magnificence of its appearance more than makes up for this, plus it’s more or less evergreen.  You’ll need a sturdy frame or tree to grow it up as it is very vigorous, but a total joy to behold.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South, West or East-facing
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

‘Tranquility'

The clue’s in the name here.  This English Rose will grace your garden with huge white blooms for months on end.  Not overly scented but it more than makes up for that with its magnificent presence and lack of thorns, making it a great one for cut flowers.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South, West or East-facing
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

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‘Madamme Hardy'

You’re in for a surprise if you decide to grow this rose bred in the 1830’s.  Pure, pure, white flowers, packed full of petals with the most glorious fragrance and a green eye in the centre!  The trade-off is that, like most old roses, it blooms just once for about 4 or 5 weeks but what a wonderful sight it is grown on its own or in a mixed flower border.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – South, West, North or East-facing
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

‘White Parfum de Provence’

This variety is a classic hybrid tea rose with a powerful perfume.  It produces gorgeous white blooms on single stems, making it also ideal for cutting.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – South, West, or East-facing
• Moisture –moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

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‘Rambling Rector'

One of my all-time favourite ramblers but be warned, once he gets going there’s no holding it back.  He can climb to 6m, so he belongs in a tall, mature tree where you can admire his strongly fragrant blooms festooning down from the tree.  He’ll also surprise you in autumn with glorious small orange hips!

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – South, West, North or East-facing
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

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‘Desdemona'

This elegant bloomed English Rose will delight you with its deliciously, strong fragrance; funnily enough most evident early morning.  The buds start off a blush/peach colour and quickly turn white once the flowers are fully opened.  It repeat flowers from early summer well into autumn and works well in containers as well as mixed flower borders.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South, West or East-facing
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

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‘Rosa rugosa’

A great rose for hedging; super tough and easy to grow with very fragrant pure white, single flowers followed by orange cherry tomato like large hips, much loved by birds.  It will even grow in sandy soil!

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – South, West, North or East-facing
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

‘Countess of Wessex'

If you want a rose that will flower all the way through the year from early spring until the first frosts then look no further.  Introduced in the early 2000’s the strongly scented, slightly cream coloured flowers have the look of a classic hybrid tea rose and make great cut flowers.  It can be grown as a short climber as well as in a border.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South, West or East-facing
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay or loam

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‘Boule de Neige'

French for snowball this old French rose will delight with its small clusters of white flowers that look like a camellia and have a silky texture.  This is one of the few old roses that repeat flowers and also pumps out a strong scent. It will grow to 1.5m tall with a relatively narrow spread of 1m.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South, West or East-facing
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

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Spring is here, see my post on spring pollinators:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

spring pollinators
Spring pollinators
Pinterest
Pinterest Board


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