Polesden Lacey launches the new Greville Rose at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

A bush of peach roses

On Monday 22 May, the first day of the RHS Chelsea Flower show, Polesden Lacey launched the Rosa ‘Margaret Greville’ in celebration of 75 years since Mrs Greville bequeathed the property to the National Trust in 1942.

Finding the right rose

Rosa ‘Margaret Greville’, or the Greville Rose as it’s known to staff and volunteers, was cultivated exclusively for the National Trust at Polesden Lacey by Peter Beales Roses, world leading rose horticulturalists.

Smile! You're off to the Chelsea Flower Show!
The garden team pose for a photo with the Greville Rose
Smile! You're off to the Chelsea Flower Show!

“It was a team decision,” says Head Gardener, Jamie Harris, “We came to Beales with ideas for a rose that would reflect Mrs Greville – she was flamboyant, outspoken, always the centre of attention – and Beales offered us three new roses to choose from. In the end, it was a clear choice and it’s easy to see why.”

Enjoy tranquility in the rose garden
A girl sits on a stone bench holding roses
Enjoy tranquility in the rose garden

The rose in bloom

In horticultural terms, Beales describe the rose as : ‘‘Margaret Greville’ has delightful tight buds of deep coral pink that open beautifully into medium sized semi-double blooms of coral to salmon pink, which with age reveal a coronet of golden anthers.’

" We like to say that it’s peach perfection with a heart of gold."
- Jamie Harris, Head Gardener

Maggie - "so sharp, such fun, so naughty”

Mrs Greville was renowned for rubbing shoulders with the Edwardian glitterati at house parties she threw at Polesden Lacey, her lavish countryside retreat.

A sparkling young socialite
A portrait of a young Maggie Greville
A sparkling young socialite

Fabulously wealthy, over the years she played hostess to countless famous faces, including King Edward VII, Winston Churchill, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

The Queen Mother herself described Maggie as being "so shrewd, so kind, so amusingly unkind, so sharp, such fun, so naughty”, a fitting description for a socialite who kept an extra string of pearls tucked in her bosom to ensure she was never eclipsed by a rival.

Find the rose in bloom at Polesden Lacey

Maggie’s namesake rose holds an especially prominent place in the garden, planted in the beds before her grave in the Ladies Garden.

Visitors to Polesden can enjoy it in bloom from mid-June or buy it in the gift shop now for £18.50 to enjoy at home. 

Launching at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Joining Jamie at the Chelsea Flower Show was the lovely Ellen Oakley, one of Polesden’s fantastic costumed volunteers.

Dressed as a young Edwardian debutante in a stunning yellow evening gown and wearing a stunning replica of the Greville diamond tiara, Ellen epitomised Polesden Lacey’s spirit of place.

Champagne anyone?
A woman in evening dress reaches for a glass of champagne
Champagne anyone?

The official Chelsea launch of Rosa Margaret Greville happened in the early afternoon before members of the press, when a bouquet of roses were presented to Ellen by Carol Kline, the face of BBC Gardener’s World.

Head Gardener, Jamie Harris, stops to smell the roses with debutante Margaret Greville
A lady and a gardener smell a bunch of roses
Head Gardener, Jamie Harris, stops to smell the roses with debutante Margaret Greville

Polesden’s new General Manager, Katherine Mills, said: “Rosa ‘Margaret Greville’ marks a landmark moment for Polesden Lacey celebrating 75 wonderful years of sharing this amazing place with everyone, as Maggie stipulated it should be in her bequest. The rose is a fabulous addition to the garden collection and I like to think that Maggie would have felt that it suits the woman she was.”

The Greville rose will be in bloom from mid-June.

Mrs Greville speaks with some guests with a Facebook logo in the corner of the picture

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