Introduced in 1957, the Queen Elizabeth climbing rose (Rosa x “Climbing Queen Elizabeth”) is a variety of its predecessor, the Queen Elizabeth (Rosa Queen Elizabeth). The climbing variety usually flowers between the summer and the fall. It is a hardy and vigorous climber that features abundant pink blooms that grace walls, trellises and arbors. The climbing Queen Elizabeth follows in a tradition of top royal roses.
A rose breeder in the United States named Dr. Walter E. Lammerts bred the Queen Elizabeth. Lammerts was an author, plant researcher and horticulturist, and lectured on the subject of rose breeding. Lammerts was also a graduate of and later a professor at the University of California at Berkeley.
The Queen Elizabeth is a cross between “Charlotte Armstrong” and “Floradora.” The Charlotte Armstrong rose is a deep pink hybrid tea rose. Lammerts raised this large flowered and fragrant rose in 1940. He established a plant research facility at the Armstrong Nurseries, from which the rose derives its name. The Floradora rose is an orange-red floribunda, bred by Mathias Tantau of Germany and introduced in 1944. Both the Charlotte Armstrong and the Floradora roses are available for commercial purchase at nurseries and online, as are the Queen Elizabeth and the Climbing Queen Elizabeth.
The Queen Elizabeth is a medium pink rose with a mild fragrance. It honors the 1952 accession to the throne and the 1954 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain. Its other names are “The Queen Elizabeth Rose” and “Queen of England.”
The Queen Elizabeth is a winner of major horticultural awards. They include the Portland Gold Medal in 1954, the National Rose Society President’s International Trophy in 1955, the All-American Rose Selections (AARS) winner in 1955, the American Rose Society Gold Medal in 1957, the Golden Rose of The Hague in 1968 and the World’s Favorite Rose in 1979.
Northern Ireland’s history of rose breeding dates back to the late 19th century. The International Rose Garden at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland, hosts an annual Rose Week in July. Highlighted at this event is the Queen Elizabeth, in the company of a glittering array of other special roses named in honor of famous people, including the Queen’s grandson, Prince William of Wales (The Royal William rose).