Just occasionally there are roses that literally take your breath away and Lady Emma Hamilton™ is one such. Dashing, vivacious and original (as was her namesake), each flower is a composite of colours beginning with a dark red bud, streaked with orange, opening up to a 45 petalled chalice. Each petal is its own mini work of art being almost tangerine orange on the inside and a more salmon pinky/yellow on the outside with little blushes of pink at the outer edge - hard to describe but the effect is awesome. The flower is fully double and is supported by deep red foliage that turns to bronze and then green over the season. And if that were not sufficient, Lady Emma get the Very Strong Fragrance accolade too, being more at the fruity end of the spectrum.
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Lady Emma Hamilton is an inspirational starting point for any rose focussed bed. She is fascinating enough to be grown in a great monopoly and is sociable enough to encourage conversation with almost any other person - apricot Grace Rose , yellow Graham Thomas, crimson Darcy Bussell....you get the picture. Small and manageable she fits neatly into pots but remains unassailed by looming Euphorbias or large coppery Eupatoriums in a herbaceous border. She would look marvellous set off by a copper beech hedge and underplanted by Geum Totally Tangerine.
Notorious as Nelson's mistress, Lady Emma Hamilton bore him a daughter and Lady Emma's care was entrusted by him to the nation on his death. The Government of the time gave that short shrift and she died in poverty in France. In happier times she was also the muse of the great English portrait painter of the late 1700s George Romney and was also painted by Joshua Reynolds.