May arrives... smelling of roses

From her Vosges garden, Cathy Thompson reveals her favourite varieties

How many roses have you got in your garden? Please note that I do not mean hybrid teas and floribundas, but the real, old-fashioned sort and the species roses.

If it is more than one, be cautioned that France might turn you into an addict. Here, roses don’t just scent the air... they positively reek of history.

In May, the curtain is truly up on the rose season and the long-awaited flowers of ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ (inset)make an appearance. There is nothing comparable to the perfectly quartered shape of this rose – palest pink I can get any day, it’s the form that makes it exquisite.

SDLM (as it is affectionately known) was not actually grown in Josephine Bonaparte’s famous rose ...

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