People will often say that they don't like yellow in the garden. But then they may well have never seen The Pilgrim. Unlike other yellow flowers which can tend to the brash and bright end of the spectrum, The Pilgrim's roses are a soft yellow with an outer layer of paler clotted cream coloured petals. The multitude of petals are almost arranged in ruffled quarters. The sunshine yellow buds open into flat, symmetrical rosettes replete visible stamens. Being an English musk hybrid, The Pilgrim has a powerfully enticing musky and myrrh fragrance which raises its game from gorgeous to essential in the rose canon. The Pilgrim's dogged ability to flower well in the shade will also tick many people's boxes because its lightness and brightness will lift a gloomy corner. This effect is enhanced by its glossy, mid-green leaves. The whole plant has a placid and reliable temperament.
As with most pilgrims, this rose's progress is slow and steady but inexorable. Over 3 to 5 years it will reach up to about 3.5 metres making it perfect for pergolas, pillars and arches or to plod up through ornamental trees like the crabapple (Malus) or Laburnum in the garden. The result will look like a shining beacon of light. It does not become leggy so you will see flowers from top to toe all through the summer and if you deadhead as the season progresses you will encourage even more to develop. If you have space try to grow Claire Austin next door to The Pilgrim for a sensational wall of roses. The clematis type to thread through this rose would be any of the group 3 types because they are so simple to prune; examples would be the feisty Polish Spirit or flamboyant Gipsy Queen. The flowers perform well in a vase too, so this is another one for the cutting garden.
One could almost do a PhD in David Austin's rose name choices.....and in this instance he has chosen to immortalise Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and its stories of the various pilgrims on the road to Canterbury to visit Thomas a Becket's shrine.