The Kiftsgate Rose

Think of a country garden… think of a rambling rose. Close your eyes and imagine clusters of scented flowers in sugared almond shades of pink, lilac, white and cream. To me their exuberant arching habit adds to the character and atmosphere of the country garden. Ramblers are vigorous plants producing strong new stems from the base of the rose every spring. Then in early summer great swags of scented blooms cascade down from laden branches. I often wonder how just one plant can produce so many flowers. We have been growing rambling roses through some of the mature trees in our garden for several years now…

Kiftsgate-ThumbnailOne of the most lovely of all the rambling roses is the Kiftsgate Rose.
The Latin name is Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’.
If you have been to see Kiftsgate Garden (near Hidcote, Gloucestershire) you may have been lucky enough to see it in flower there.

It is absolutely enormous! Although ours is growing nicely up through the host tree it is still small by comparison.  You can see photos of the actual rose on the Kiftsgate website.



The simple white open flowers grow in twiggy clusters on spindly stems. Just a few roses open at first then there’s an explosion of froth as all the blooms open into huge sprays of flower. It’s a hardy, vigorous rose with a strong musky perfume. Beware of the hooked thorns though!


Rambling roses are easy to look after. Once they get going their vigorous new growth will find it’s own way up through the host tree. Alternatively you can train them over timber or metal arches and pergolas. Not much pruning is required but if the plant becomes congested you can prune out some of the older woody stems after flowering.


This rose is not just beautiful in summer… in autumn Rosa Kiftsgate is still attractive as there are masses of tiny orangey-red rose hips. This is definitely one to try if you like flowers and rose hips for cutting or if you have a mature tree for a rose to grow through.

Thanks for reading                    Gillian 😉

5 thoughts on “The Kiftsgate Rose

  1. Beautiful images and a wonderful description of this mighty rose in glorious flower. I’m aiming for a post on the joys of pruning a mature specimen that our predecessor trained along the top of a wall. I think she had a sense of humour!

    1. Good luck with that one Kate. Things sometimes seem like a good idea then years down the line it’s a different story!

      1. There are some plants that are just worth the annual maintenance – this is one of them, as you say the it’s a glorious sight even in winter laden with rosy hips.

  2. It is beautiful but it is a monster. I have a child of Kiftsgate which was a seedling, it is enormous already after about 5 years.

    1. I can’t wait to see how this turns out. We’ve had it years already but we are in a windy spot and the rose is partially shaded so perhaps it will never reach dizzy heights.

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