Sam McGredy's Roses - 2
Sam McGredy's roses are strong and vibrantly coloured. This man isn't a slave to pastels - his flame reds and sunset colours are warm and evocative. The rose bushes have big flowers, with big blooming impact.
I had the perfect excuse to visit the local Botanic Rose Gardens in search of Sam McGredy's roses. A reader wanted some good pictures of his roses, for an article on famous people from Northern Ireland.
The day was brilliantly overcast, and I'd just discovered a certain wee button on my camera which... Well, we don't need to go into that!
The modern rose gardens had nearly twenty of Sam McGredy's roses, most in their very own private beds. And all were very formally labelled, with details of parentage. Naturally, being on a serious photographic mission, I took shots of the labels too!
I liked the glowing Matangi, the blousy, tropical Captain Cook, and the restrained and elegant Aotearoa, a beautiful shell pink hybrid tea with the softest open blooms.
New Zealand Names
Naturally many of the roses have New Zealand names - Aotearoa itself means 'The Land of the Long White Cloud'. Anyone who has visited New Zealand will nod wisely - it's the perfect description!
And so I clicked away, carefully standing over the shorter shrubs, and sometimes leaning into the middle of the rose beds, trying not to overbalance. So many of the roses had fruity colours - apricots, oranges, deep peach tones, persimmons, tangerines - as well as the golds, and warm reds.
Cigarettes and Roses
Probably my most favourite rose was the ill-named Benson and Hedges Gold. Oops, not such a great name for this health-conscious rose fancier! Of course, it's the name of a brand of cigarettes, reminding me of the old days when cigarette companies sponsored all sorts of public sporting and cultural events.
Benson and Hedges Gold
And of course, there was a low growing group of flowery Sexy Rexies, lurking by a rose archway, waiting for some action. A clutch of McGredy Senior yellow roses, their blooms still covered in raindrops, shared the same bed. Nice neighbours!
Yellow McGredy Rose
Other McGredy Roses
Other well-known Sam McGredy roses not mentioned above are Handel, Picasso, Oranges and Lemons, Olympiad, and the climbers Bantry Bay and Dublin Bay - Aargh! That last one's not exactly a Moosey favourite.
But, talkng of favourites, Sam McGredy has written a book entitled Sam McGredy's Favourite Roses which I must try and get a copy of. I'm sure he'll include some of his own creations...