Another floribunda rose, where several flowers unfurl from one stem making for a spectacular summer show, Eternal Flame makes an unusual plant gift because of its colouring and the shape of its flower. Being high centred, each flower has more of the elegant, restrained looks of a modern hybrid tea where you normally only get one flower per stem. And the distinctive colouring speaks for itself: more like a burnished gold, where each petal smoulders from yellow in the base through apricot to a deep orange. A very full double flower it also boasts a lovely fragrance redolent of orange blossom - nothing burnt about that - and glossy foliage. It is a vigorous bushy rose and, like all modern roses, has been bred to withstand all the common rose afflictions.
Not a rose for the faint hearted, this rose can work as part of a stunning and unusual scheme of yellows, and oranges and other sunset colours. Not brash in itself it can work with some of the more outre colours of the gardening spectrum, acid greens (think euphorbia), bright yellows (seek out some of the more ethereal Solidagos, so beloved of butterflies like Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks') or bright oranges (Penstemon 'Wisley Flame'). Hot borders are a wonderful way of evoking a sunny, southern feel to a garden and Eternal Flame will certainly add to that impression. But if that all feels a bit scary, Eternal Flame can be tempered with cool silver plants like Artemisia ludoviciana is a favourite, as is Cineraria Silverdust or Senecio. Either way, this is a special rose which sparks the imagination and pleases the eye.
Apart from being an extremely successful song by American girl band, the Bangles, an eternal flame has a more serious purpose throughout history and in many cultures. Eternal flames are deliberately lit fires that have been fuelled by wood, olive oil and now (less romantically) propane, but invariably are there to commemorate a person or place where an important or memorable occurrence took place. With this in mind, the Eternal Flame rose would make a marvellous plant to mark an occasion or person.