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'Gertrude Jekyll' rose Reviews & Comments
Discussion id : 105-282
most recent 30 SEP SHOW ALL
Initial post 3 SEP by BenT_TX
Easily the worst rose I have ever grown in 40 years, bar none. It quickly forms an unbelievable thorny thicket sprawling in all directions 5x5 feet within a few a wild multiflora that has invaded the southeastern US , minus the spring flower flush. The few flowers it produced were miniature rose size, paper thin , fleeting, with a modest and mundane scent. I cannot imagine using it for bedding, cutflowers, landscaping or any other functions that a cultivated rose would traditionally perform. I do think it'd be unparalleled as an 'organic barbed wire', so perhaps it could be repurposed for theft deterrent, keeping out wild animals, prison plantings, frightening off undesirable children and adults alike, etc.
Reply #1 of 5 posted 5 SEP by Lavenderlace
Hi BenT,

Thanks for the vivid review, LOL! Sounds like this one would be out of control here. I was so curious about the fragrance but might take this one off the list!
Reply #2 of 5 posted 5 SEP by BenT_TX
You're most welcome, Lavenderlace. It seems England's Favourite Rose (twice! according Austin marketing) is my Texas Chainsaw Massacre nightmare bush.
Reply #3 of 5 posted 5 SEP by Lavenderlace
Sounds like how New Dawn is for me!
Reply #4 of 5 posted 30 SEP by GRH_England
Clearly Gertrude isn't suitable for that particular climate. I can assure you that in temperate climates as we have in England, it grows very well and has a beautiful scent.
Reply #5 of 5 posted 30 SEP by BenT_TX
Mrs Jekyll had a very unfortunate encounter with my newly sharpened spade. Otherwise, I'd happily return her back your way.
Discussion id : 104-622
most recent 17 AUG HIDE POSTS
Initial post 16 AUG by Fadi
I planted my Getrude Jeykll 4 months a go. It is growing nicely and produced 2 flushes so far. The only problem is that I cannot detect a strong fragrance ! I have a friend that went crazy over the smell !
Is that normal that i don't detect a fragrance and my friend does ?!!
will the strong fragrance be able to detect in the future as the rose mature ?
is there anything I can do to increase the fragrance ? more fertilizer?
any suggestion ?
I live in Canada Zone5b
Reply #1 of 9 posted 16 AUG by StrawChicago Alkaline clay 5a
With old-rose scent, it takes more than a year for the scent to develop. My W.S. 2000 (an Austin) had zero scents as 1st-year own-root, but the scent becomes stronger after 2nd year since the root matures & secretes more acid to utilize minerals in soil to develop best scent.

Gertrude J. has zero scent at Chicago Botanical Garden. Their bushes are quite old, judging by the thick stem and more blooms than leaves. Chicago Botanical Garden has loamy soil, thus minerals are leached out after heavy rain. In contrast, most roses smell better in heavy clay, which retains minerals better. A good substitute for clay is peat-moss potting soil, which retains nutrients well. Roses in potting soil have better scent than loamy soil, plus high-phosphorus & trace-elements fertilizer do help with stronger scent. I grow most of my 110 own-root varieties in potting soil & high-dose fertilizer 1st ... and they always smell best during the 1st month, except for Old-Garden rose scents.
Reply #6 of 9 posted 17 AUG by Fadi
Thanks for your reply

I planted several Austins this year. It is interesting to find that I cannot smell dark pink & red roses very well or maybe mild fragrance. for example, Gertude & princess alexandra of kent have mild or no fragrance the same applies to red Austins. on the other hands, white, yellow and even some orange smells divine to me.
Heritage smells like lemon. The poet's wife (yellow) smells very strong fruity amazing fragrance. Fair Bianca (white) smells very nice (vailla plus something odd). even Abraham Darby has nice fragrance to me.

I hope when roses mature smells better.
Reply #2 of 9 posted 16 AUG by Patricia Routley
Yes, I think it is quite normal for one person to detect a fragrance and another cannot. Different noses even detect different fragrances from the same rose. I am quite sure that with a new plant with just two flushes, the following would not apply to you, but just because I find it all interesting.....
I have an avenue 5' feet wide on either side filled with violets. They grow well here and each year my neighbour, who makes creams and perfumes, comes to gather blooms. Two weeks ago she filled a two gallon jar and happily put it under my nose but unfortunately I could not smell them. I am too used to it.
The internet tells me:

In violets along with terpenes, a major component of the scent is a ketone compound called ionone, which temporarily desensitises the receptors in the nose; this prevents any further scent being detected from the flower. (This is why often people complain "I can't smell a thing!", it's not necessarily anosmia, but too much ionones!!) Ionones were first isolated from the Parma violet by Tiemann and Kruger in 1893.
Reply #3 of 9 posted 17 AUG by Margaret Furness
I'm told that some people can't smell boronias, on a genetic basis. Poor creatures.
Reply #4 of 9 posted 17 AUG by Andrew from Dolton
I can not detect more than a mild, although distinct, scent in Rosa arvensis and other far more esteemed rose growers have written the same, however for some reason HMF persists in saying it has a strong fragrance in the description.
Reply #7 of 9 posted 17 AUG by Jay-Jay
Sometimes it gives quite a lot of scent in my garden, sometimes it hardly does. Not dependable on the weather or time of the day, as is the case with other roses.
But in my opinion, it isn't the most fragrant rose ever as was stated and promised.
It was said too, that it would be commercially grown to produce rose-oil for the perfume industry, but at least I never heard of that plan again.
Reply #8 of 9 posted 17 AUG by Andrew from Dolton
Thanks Jay-Jay, a damask rose has a strong fragrance, early on a warm morning, arvensis has a distinct musk smell with citrus overtones that will carry in the breeze, but it is a very subtle smell.
Reply #9 of 9 posted 17 AUG by Jay-Jay
I was not reacting on Your post, Andrew, but on the original-one of Fadi about Gertrude Jekyll.
Reply #10 of 9 posted 17 AUG by Andrew from Dolton
I did think arvensis was a strange rose for you to grow and I don't remember seeing it on many trips I have made to The Netherlands.
Discussion id : 102-073
most recent 19 JUL SHOW ALL
Initial post 6 JUL by DLEverette_NC_Zone7b
My GJ is being very stingy. Last year (first full season) I tried to grow it as a shrub rose and it didn't produce a flush but once. This year, I decided to let it grow as a climber so I could bend the canes to get more blooms. It did the same thing as last year - It bloomed once in March and just grows and grows without producing more blooms.

I don't know what I'm doing wrong here. It's a fantastic rose when it's in bloom, but it's not repeating very well at all for me. Any idea what might be wrong?
Reply #1 of 6 posted 6 JUL by Andrew from Dolton
This rose never did well for me. However, last autumn I gave it a dressing of lime as my soil is rather acidic. I also gave it the absolute minimum of pruning. This year it is flowering better although because of the cool summers in my location it never grows more than 1 metre high, it is on laxa rootstock not 'Dr Huey'.
Reply #2 of 6 posted 6 JUL by StrawChicago Alkaline clay 5a
Everett: I look over your pictures of roses in pots ... I see pale upper leaves, that's typical of ALKALINE tap water, like my hard-well water at pH 9. For that reason I use vinegar & ACIDIC sulfate of potash & gypsum to fix my alkaline-tap-water and to force Austin roses to repeat fast. See my HMF profile on fixing one's alkaline-tap-water.

Folks in rich-minerals clay-region report Gertrude Jekyll repeats well, if pruned & given enough fertilizer.

Andrew is right about liming if the soil is acidic. Calcium is the building blocks for leaves, stems, roots, and petals. If there's tons of acidic rain (pH 5.6 on the west coast, and near 4 in the East coast) ... that also leach out minerals necessary for blooming. Like my own-root Munstead Wood in a pot refused to bloom with low-nutrients-LOAMY potting soil & tons of acidic rain. But when I put Munstead Wood in my alkaline clay (rich in minerals), it's pumping out 20+ buds right now 7/6/17 for 2nd-flush. To make stingy Austin roses to repeat bloom, a high-dose fertilizer NPK 8-20-40, plus lime (for acidic soil), or gypsum (for alkaline soil). High potassium force roses to bloom. High phosphorus forces more branching, rather than one-cane wonder. Low nitrogen helps to cut down the tall octopus canes (if grafted on Dr.Huey). Credit & many thanks to Perpetua in Romania who shared with me NPK 8-20-40 as the secret to tons of blooms.
Reply #3 of 6 posted 7 JUL by DLEverette_NC_Zone7b
Thank you for the tips! I think you might be right about the soil acidity. I suspect the cause is the run off water from the roof. This year, I've noticed is that all my plants that get a high dosage of run-off rainwater from the roof aren't very happy at all. I lost a baby own root plant earlier this year and almost lost two others. I had a Lady of Shallot in the same spot as the GJ in the picture you saw from last year, and it was having the same symptoms as well. It's not as not growing or blooming much at all either (which is unusual for LoS). I moved it and watered it well and within a week, it started growing again like crazy.

Since I can't move my GJ away from the wall (apartment manager will throw a fit), I'd like to try a fertilizer like the one you suggested. Do you have any suggestions on a brand with that ratio that I can use for potted roses? Will the high numbers burn the roots?

FYI, my local nursery sells Jack's Classic bloom booster (10-30-20). Would that be a good place to start?

Thanks again for your help!
Reply #4 of 6 posted 7 JUL by Andrew from Dolton
Your rose is growing in a container, don't forget that most roses, like Clematis, like to have their roots cool and moist.
Reply #5 of 6 posted 7 JUL by StrawChicago Alkaline clay 5a
Everett: Just saw the pic. of your bush, looks good. I can tell the pH is acidic, from the smaller & spindly & thin canes. At slightly alkaline pH, there's more calcium & potassium & phosphorus for blooming. Just google "plant nutrients chart and pH level" and you'll see.

G.J. at Chicago Botanical Garden is pruned quite short (below my waist) but with more blooms than leaves. CBG has alkaline loamy soil (pH 7.4), and they recommend soluble fertilizer NPK 20-20-20 three times a year.

To force GJ to re-bloom: Any fertilizer LOW in nitrogen would do. Chemical nitrogen has acidifying action .. which makes the pH even lower with acidic rain. Dolomitic lime (calcium & magnesium, pH near 10) is expensive, a cheaper sub. is a 40 lbs. bag of pea-gravel (different colors) sold for $3 at local stores. Alkaline pea-gravel provide solid-minerals to neutralize acidic rain. In that assortment of colorful pea-gravel, the red/pink ones provide iron, the beige ones provide calcium, the gray ones provide magnesium .. but stay away from black-pea-gravel (high aluminum). Aluminum is toxic to roots.

The pea-gravel will neutralize acidic rain, plus provide solid minerals for blooming. Pea-gravel don't shoot up the pH like garden lime, it's a constant steady-release. If you have loamy/sandy soil, there's plenty of phosphorus, just need to aim for neutral pH (7) for phosphorus to be released. However, acidic rain does leach out calcium, potassium, and magnesium (in that order). Pea-gravel can add calcium & magnesium, but one still need potassium, either potassium chloride (very salty, but no acid), or potassium sulfate (sulfate of potash, 1/3 the salt, but with 21% sulfur). Only Amazon or Kelp4Less sell sulfate of potash, I like the sulfate of potash from Kelp4less better, it dissolves easily if sprinkle on the ground. Kelp4Less is free shipping. Years ago I posted a picture in HMF of Frederic Mistral going from 5 blooms per year to 40+ blooms in one flush, via sulfate of potash.

Potassium needs calcium and magnesium for best blooming. In hydroponic studies, the best ratio is 4:2:1:1, 4 part potassium, 2 part calcium, 1 part magnesium, and 1 part phosphorus. Rose tissue analysis done by University of CA at Davis showed similar ratio: twice more potassium than calcium, and much less magnesium and phosphorus. So either dolomitic lime (calcium & magnesium) or pea-gravel will help to activate sulfate of potash.

Also some Tomato-Tone (higher in potassium than Rose-Tone) will provide bacteria & mycorrhyzal fungi to help with phosphorus uptake. Espoma-Tomato tone is higher in calcium, sold for $10 for a HUGE bag at all stores (Walmart, HomeDepot, Lowe's). That has slow-released organic nitrogen, and doesn't lower pH like chemical nitrogen.
Reply #6 of 6 posted 19 JUL by DLEverette_NC_Zone7b really know a lot! Thank you for taking the time to write that! I think the first thing I will do is test the soil, then use a low nitrogen fertilizer if needed. I'm gonna look into the pea gravel/kelp4less combo too.

As far as Tomato Tone goes, should I use the same amount as I would with Rose Tone?
Discussion id : 28-950
most recent 5 AUG 16 SHOW ALL
Initial post 14 JUL 08 by jovy1097
I live in hot, central Louisiana. This rose reacts very well to a hard pruning after every flush of bloom. When it tries to send out long "octopus" canes, just cut them back and this will stimulate it to bloom again. Lovely, pink flowers with heavenly fragrance. Lots of thorns though! When pruned right, this is a very floriferous rose - though not as good as Abraham Darby for me.
Reply #1 of 3 posted 11 JUL 11 by HonzaPM
Thank you, I´ll cut down those "octopus" stems :)
Reply #2 of 3 posted 12 JUL 11 by Jimmy
I have tried hard pruning on Gertrude Jekyll...the thing I noticed about hard pruning is that it takes awhile for this rose to build up again. This is something I don't like to do because I want my roses to be big and healthy - I don't want my roses to end up small again. However, hard pruning is essential because Gertrude Jekyll in my country gets black-spot and mildew and the growth habit is lanky. The fragrance smells beautiful.
Reply #3 of 3 posted 5 AUG 16 by DLEverette_NC_Zone7b
When you say "hard pruning" do you mean cutting back to the first 2-3 bud eyes?

Also, when it sends out the "octopus" canes, do you cut them before they bloom or after? Mine has several of them that haven't bloomed yet, and they make the bush look wild and messy.
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