Alice in Wonderland Rose Marquee and Rose of the Year 2012

Top hat made from flowersAlice in Wonderland theme for Rose Marquee at Hampton Court Flower Show

In the beautifully dressed marquee visitors can see what happened when Alice followed the White Rabbit - complete with waistcoat and pocket watch, down the rabbit hole. Around the Marquee, Alice's exploits will be depicted in pop-up book style, based on the original drawings by John Tenniel for Lewis Carroll. The original illustrations were black and white line drawings, so to add texture and interest colour has been added to the 2D cut-out characters.

Scenes depicted will include a shrunken Alice after sampling the "drink me" bottle; taking tea with the Mad Hatter and sleepy dormouse; the hookah-smoking Caterpillar; Alice struggling to play croquet with flamingos and hedgehogs, watched over by the grinning face of the Cheshire Cat as he appears in the clouds, as well as meeting the Dodo and other animals.

In addition to the spectacle of Alice's adventures, the Rose Marquee will also highlight glorious rose displays by rose nurserymen from around the country. About 8 million rose plants were sold in the UK in 2010, proving that the love of the rose remains constant. New roses making their debut this year include Rose of the Year 2012, 'Moment in Time' and 'Camelot' and 'Pure Poetry', bred by Rosen Tantau and introduced by Pococks Rises. The actress Virginna McKenna will receive the creamy-yellow shrub rose named for her by Harkness Roses.

New Roses at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2011

Rose of the Year 2012: 'Moment in Time' (Korcastrav)

Bred by Kordes of Germany, this extremely healthy floribunda is proving to be a worthy winner of the Rose of the Year title. It repeat-flowers throughout the summer with an abundance of lightly fragranced, semi-double, intense ruby-red blooms. With dark glossy leaves, its compact and upright growth habit makes it an ideal option for containers as well as mixed borders and traditional planting schemes. The rose grows to a height and spread of 60x40cm and will be available from rose nurseries and garden centres nationwide from autumn 2011.

'Virginia McKenna' (Harsong)

A charming shrub rose that shares some of the qualities of the hybrid musks, created by the Rev. Pemberton in the early 1900s. There is similar, elegant habit, broader than it is tall, ideal for a mixed border, or as a flowering hedge. 'Virginia McKenna' flowers early and repeats reliably over a long season. In 5 years of nursery trials it was consistently easy to grow and willing to flower, showing hardly a trace of disease, despite not being sprayed at all. The rose grows to a height and spread of 120cm x 100cm.

Virginia McKenna is best remembered for the 1966 role of Joy Adamson in 'Born Free', in which her late husband Bill Travers played the role of naturalist George Adamson. Filming Born Free led Virginia and Bill to become active supporters of wild animal protection, and to found the organisation Zoo Check. In 1991 they established the Born Free Foundation with the aim of keeping wildlife in the wild. The Born Free Foundation will receive a royalty from sales of this rose.

'Pure Poetry®' (Tan04179)

A burgundy-red hybrid tea bred by Rosen Tantau of Germany. Spiral buds open to very fragrant full blooms, carried singly or in small clusters on stout stems. The leathery foliage is dark green with a lighter reverse. Suitable for containers, bedding and mixed planting, the vase life of the blooms is excellent, making this variety suitable for cutting. This rose grows to a height of approximately 80-100cm.

'Camelot®' (Tan05372)

The first of a new range of climbers bred by Rosen Tantau. The light-pink flowers are uniquely marked with dark pink veins, deepening towards the centre. Borne in small clusters, the spiral shaped buds open to double, rosette shaped flowers with a moderately sweet fragrance. Foliage is mid-green and glossy and stems are very pliable, making it easy to train this variety on trellises, arches, columns and gazebos. This rose grows to a height of approximately 3m.

'Truly Scrumptious' (Smi35-4-02)

Bred by the late Edward Smith, the attractive blends of pink and orange with a very dark deep pink reverse petal make this an unusual Hybrid Tea. Foliage is a glossy bronze and olive green, which contrasts well against the glowing brightness of the flowers. With a long flowering period from early May to the first severe frosts and excellent disease resistance, this rose would be an eye catching addition to a mixed border or large container.

'Norfolk Glory' (Horregina)

A floribunda rose bred by Heather Horner and named for the Norfolk branch of the Women's Institue. This stunning new variety produces an abundance of dark-orange lightly scented blooms, complemented by mid-green, glossy foliage.

'Katie's Rose (Horrapture)

A further floribunda rose, this time bred by the late Colin Horner. Dramatic, dark purplish-red hybrid-tea type blooms with a slight fragrance are offset by very glossy mid-green foliage.

Other exhibitors in the marquee will include Blue Stevens (who has helped colour the Tenniel images) with a selection of Alice in Wonderland cards, prints and mugs and Wonderland Bronze with their exquisite bronze Alice characters.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was written in 1865 by Lewis Carroll for the daughters of his friend, the Dean of Christ Church. Lewis Carroll's real name was Charles Dodgson. He studied at Christ Church, Oxford University and later became a mathematics lecturer there. He was very fond of puzzles and some readers have found mathematical jokes and codes in his Alice books. He was also an influential photographer of his time.


Article posted on 15 Jun 2011.

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