The Highclere Castle Rose Collection

Harkness launch the Highclere Castle Rose Collection.

The Harkness Rose Company, breeders and growers of the finest British roses for more than 140 years, are proud to introduce the Highclere Castle Rose Collection. Officially launching at RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week, the collection comprises of two new varieties; the Highclere Castle Rose and the Lady Carnarvon Rose. This new collection celebrates the Earls of Carnarvon and their incredible stately home, Highclere Castle, which gained fame as the setting for the hit television series and film, Downtown Abbey.

Lord and Lady Carnarvon took over the enormous privilege and pleasure of taking care of this iconic building and 5,000-acre estate in 2001. Intrigued by Highclere’s rich history, Lady Carnarvon has written several books about the history of Highclere including her New York Times best seller, Lady Almina and the real Downtown Abbey.

The new Highclere Castle Rose Collection includes a stunning deep pink climber with hints of red and purple, as well as a beautiful pearly pink bush rose with light amber and gold tones. Both roses have been bred by rose expert Philip Harkness at his nursery in Hertfordshire, a process that takes approximately seven to eight years from start to finish. The roses undergo undergoing rigorous testing and trials to ensure good resistance to common diseases, without the use of fungicides or broad-spectrum insecticides.

Highclere Castle


Brand Ambassador for The Harkness Rose Company and TV Gardener, David Domoney, who will be presenting the roses to Lord and Lady Carnarvon at Chelsea Flower Show today, said: “Associated with class and sophistication, roses can often be linked to stately homes and extravagant rose gardens. Yet, there are roses to suit every garden style and size, from patio roses on balconies to rambling roses adorning the front of a cottage. The beauty of the rose is that anybody can care for them in their garden, or even grow indoor varieties, because they are so versatile”.

The Highclere Castle Rose Information:

This new rose has been named after Highclere Castle, the home of Downtown Abbey, which is now one of the most famous stately homes in the world. This new climbing rose is an excellent variety. The flower has deep pink to purples shades that are particularly striking, and the flower form is very popular. The plant produces plenty of blooms and is very quick to repeat. In summary this is an excellent, easy to grow climbing rose with good resistance to common diseases. The young foliage has a red hue, turning dark green as it matures. The combination of flower colour and form will make this variety extremely popular with gardeners.

Height: Grows to 3m
Width: Up to 2.5m
Flower Size: 10-12cm diameter
Clusters: 5-10 blooms per cluster
Petals: 50+
Scent: 5/10

The Lady Carnarvon Rose Information:

Named in honour of the Countess of Carnarvon, this new bush variety is a very beautiful and rewarding rose. The gentle adoption of pearl pink and creamy amber into the flowers (the different colours manifest at different stages of the bloom) give a pale-coloured flower with enduring interest as the colours gently change through the life of the bloom. The form and presentation of the blooms are both good, as the blooms do not droop towards the ground, and the flower travels from a plump bud through a tightly rounded quarter to half open flower ending as an open flower showing stamens, that could attract bees. The dark green foliage contrasts nicely with the pastel bloom. An easy to grow variety that will be colourful in beds and borders.

Height: 90cm
Width: 75cm
Flower Size: 7-9cm diameter
Clusters: 5-9 blooms per cluster
Petals: 40
Scent: 7/10

Philip Harkness, Chairman of The Harkness Rose Company, says, “We were absolutely thrilled when Lord and Lady Carnarvon approached us during lockdown to create these two new roses for them. It is a great challenge to find a rose that is strong and bold enough to carry the name of Highclere Castle. The climbing rose we have chosen with its large flowers, myriad of petals and strong perfume is a super match with the stately magnificence of Highclere Castle. There are so many locations within the gardens where we would hope it will be a valuable addition to the palette with its strong colour”.

“The rose we have chosen to carry Lady Carnarvon’s name is a bush rose that is extraordinarily busy, producing wave after wave of premium white blooms. It is the embodiment of energy and vitality. A rose that has outstanding health and a dark green leaf that is a perfect visual contrast to the soft and subtle flowers”

Notes to Editors:

Pictures and more information available on request.

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The Harkness Rose Company
Briar Patch Nursery
Ickwell Road
Upper Caldecote
SG18 9BS

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