Rose fragrance is emitted not from the pollen or stamens but from oil glands on the petals. Enjoying fragrant roses is a matter of choosing the right variety. Some rose varieties do have more perfume than others.
The nature of rose scent also varies considerably. Indeed, there are 25 different scents that can be encountered among fragrant roses, from a light apple-blossom fragrance to the heady scent of attar of roses.
Fragrance also varies according to the age of the bloom, its health and your own sensitivity to the fragrance. As a general rule, roses smell their strongest in the morning. Roses that are well watered and healthy also have better scent (mildew, a disease that can affect roses, reduces their perfume).
Some of the most highly perfumed roses include the deep red roses such as Mister Lincoln, Papa Meilland and Oklahoma. If you don’t want a full-on red rose, try Double Delight, a creamy white rose with red tipped petals. It has a wonderful fragrance.
Many of the David Austin varieties have an old-fashioned look and a rich old-fashioned scent to match. Evelyn is an apricot rose bred by David Austin with rich fragrance. Also fragrant and apricot in colour is Just Joey. Of this year’s new release roses, Ebb Tide (deep purple with many petals), Smooth Perfume (thornless and soft pink) and Jane McGrath (pink, with many pointed petals and small-growing) are fragrant.
Roses are on sale in May in chain stores and nurseries or by mail-order.