The Oxford Physic Rose

Oxford Physic Rose in vase

What else could the country’s oldest botanic garden, located on Rose Lane in Oxford, do to mark its 400th anniversary, other than create a delightful new rose for the world to enjoy?

Oxford Botanic Garden Director Professor Simon Hiscock revealed the new rose on Sunday, 25th July 2021, accompanied by rose breeder Ian Limmer of Peter Beales Roses Ltd, who rose to the challenge of creating a new hybrid which speaks of Oxford’s historical importance in botany, while being destined for gardens of the future. The Oxford Physic Rose will be launched at the Chelsea Flower Show 2022.
Mr Limmer described it as:

“A shell pink shrub rose which has all the characteristics of a classic old-fashioned rose, yet with the qualities gardeners have come to expect from a contemporary rose, such as robust health and vigour."

He explained that the bloom shape is open cupped, with the semidouble flowers lending themselves perfectly for pollinating insects drawn to the rich golden coronet in the centre of the blooms and described the scent as reminiscent of a classic rose, very sweet and strong. Gardeners can look forward to a rose which will be perfect for specimen planting in the middle of a border or trained as a small climber next to a fence or wall. It is tolerant of shade and suitable for growing in a pot.

Commenting on the idea behind this birthday rose, Professor Hiscock said,

“Roses have always been a part of the Botanic Garden and the reason Rose Lane is so named. They are the national flower of England, a symbol of peace and the inspiration behind a multitude of artistic, poetic and literary endeavours. Their natural oils and perfumes benefit our well-being in so many ways. So, when my partner Suzanne, who has a particular love of roses, suggested this, I knew it was a brilliant idea.”

The brief to Peter Beales, a breeder with one of the finest collections of old and species roses to work with, was simple. The new rose must be pale pink, with a beautiful scent, open flower for pollinators and repeat flowering (an unusual trait in old roses).

Professor Hiscock concluded,

“Being the best rose breeder around, Peter Beales delivered. It was fitting to give one of the first roses to our patron HRH Prince of Wales when he visited the Garden on June 8th. He loved it, as many more will doubtless do”.

Since 1968, Peter Beales Roses have grown millions of roses, from shrub, climbing to modern hybrid and floribunda roses that are now growing all over the world, from small city gardens in London to hundreds of acres in Japan. All roses and plants are lovingly cared for by hand by our East Anglian based rosarians over two years before they are sold.

Ian Limmer, Simon Hiscock and Oxford Physic Rose

Ian Limmer with Oxford Botanic Garden Director Professor Simon Hiscock