Clockwise from top left: Grace, Ellen, Crown Princess Margareta, Ambridge Rose.
This Ambridge bloom is a little tired but still comes out swinging as the hands-down winner of the scent challenge with the most beautiful and complex myrrh I've ever encountered- even if you generally dislike that note, the intense bonus mix of fruit and powder make it worth your attention. Ellen runs second with great big soapy fruit and petitgrain- these first two are must-haves for scent queens. Crown P is all low dusty fruit with a hint of peat and an odd sort of pea-green element, and Grace exhibits modest smoky tea-type notes. All but Ellen are new in my garden this year and doing well. The first three listed are all similarly large, thick-petalled and rain-resistant once fully open (the Crown P is still only half-out here) with Ellen possibly taking the heavyweight title, whilst the Ambridge is smaller, more tissue-y and delicate.