Philip Harkness: A Masterpiece In Roses

“My passion is to breed roses that are more scented, healthier, easier to grow and flower for longer. Roses that fit beautifully into the modern garden.” 

Philip Harkness, Harkness Roses (a fifth generation rose breeder) introduces a stunning new, easy-care collection.

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As a professional rose breeder, my passion is to breed roses that are more scented, healthier, easier to grow and flower for longer. Roses that fit beautifully into the modern garden. These are the roses you’ll find in the Harkness Masterpiece Collection. With my team of specialised experts, we’ve created this collection to showcase the cream of our roses. Every new rose we bring to the market is the result of our comprehensive breeding and testing regime: it takes us eight years to breed a new variety, with several years of rigorous tests in our fields.

The Harkness nurseries started way back in 1879 and since then we have bred and introduced many popular roses such as the sensational Ena Harkness in the 1940s, or Margaret Merril and Compassion, those exquisitely scented delights from the 1970s. The 1980s witnessed the global success of Fellowship, and in more recent years we’ve bred the sensationally popular Chandos Beauty, I am MacMillan, Lady Marmalade and The Simple Life – to name just a few of our most celebrated new roses.

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Nature – the world’s toughest employer

I learnt the wizardry of rose breeding from my father as a young boy in the 1960s. He taught me the values a plant breeder needs, and most of all, he taught me patience. Nature has to take her course and we have our best success working with her, not fighting against her. As a rose breeder, I respect and work with nature to create roses that are better suited to growing in our gardens.

The Masterpiece Collection makes growing easy

The Harkness Masterpiece Roses are bred to be easy to grow and unlike many old roses, these have great natural disease resistance. In fact, we haven’t used a drop of fungicide in our new rose trials since 1994 – we’re committed to breeding the toughest and healthiest varieties. Harkness Masterpiece roses are bred to produce more flowers and give you colour for longer in the garden. As we like roses that stand up in the wind and rain, they’re self supporting (except our climbers and standards, of course). The sweet perfumes of many of our roses can be enjoyed while you’re relaxing in the garden. The Harkness Masterpiece roses combine perfumes reminscent of attar, citronella, banana, myrrh, pineapple and spices.

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A little attention, great rewards

Everyone can grow these flowers, with just a bit of attention. Roses aren’t that different to people. They don’t like to be lonely but cherish personal space – they’re happy planted in groups, but don’t overcrowd them. They’re very sociable, so can be planted in mixed borders. Roses like you to talk to them – not because they listen, but because you’ll observe them and see if they need water, food or a quick squirt of washing-up liquid to disperse greenfly. After flowering, remove the spent flower heads. Snap, cut or prune them off – any method works, and encourages more flowers in your garden. In spring, prune them by half to two thirds and you’ll get bushy plants again in the next summer.

Value the beauty

A rose plant in the garden – when treated with respect, love and a little care – lasts for many years. It is important to have the best variety, and one that is easy to care for. Roses in the Harkness Masterpiece Collection are the result of years of experience gathered by the Harkness Roses team, with the aim of making beautiful roses easy in your garden.