A Regency Rose
26th September 2017
Whilst choosing photographs for our new postcard collection, Jackie Tucker, one of our Gardening Volunteers (and member of the Gaskell Society), shared the following titbit as to the origin of the George IV Rose featured in the photograph.
In his eighth edition of ‘The Rose-Amateur’s Guide’ (1863), Thomas Rivers said ‘Rivers’s George the Fourth is also an English rose: but as this came by accident, its origin is not so well ascertained.’ Later in the book, he wrote more about the origin of this rose and it sounds as though it was not the result of a deliberate cross of two roses by himself, but a chance seedling. In his chapter on the hybrid china rose, he stated ‘Rivers’s George the Fourth is still, perhaps, one of the best of this family; it was raised from seed by myself upwards of thirty years ago, and contributed more than anything to make me an enthusiastic rose cultivator.’ In a footnote, he went on to describe the pleasure it gave him as a young man. One June morning, when he was looking over the first bed of roses he had ever grown from seed, he noticed a particularly vigorous, promising plant, as yet not in bloom. He selected this plant and grew it on in a ‘pet situation’ and found that, when established, it ‘completely eclipsed all the dark roses known’.
As Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is an example of a late Georgian/Regency Villa in style it seemed appropriate to have, by the front gate, a rose named after the last Hanoverian King George, who was Prince Regent (from 1811) then King (1820 to 1830) during Elizabeth Gaskell’s childhood and teens.
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