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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

A rose is a rose

I love the idea of gardening – fresh air! Closeness to nature! The magic of growth and change! I love the results of gardening -- beautiful flowers! Homegrown vegetables! Aromatic herbs! In fact, I love everything about gardening -- except for the actual gardening, which involves dirt, sweat, and backbreaking, repetitive labor. So I will leave to others the practical application of the latest Jane Austen bicentenary news: the launch, during last week’s Chelsea Flower Show in London, of a new “Jane Austen rose.” (Not to be confused with the Pride and Prejudice rose, released by the same grower in 2013.)

The Jane Austen rose

Suitable-for-planting versions of the new rose, described by The English Garden magazine as an “orange-flowered Floribunda” with “a light sweet scent,” will be on sale this fall for £12.95 (about $16.59). As usual with these Austen tie-ins, it's impossible to say wherein the Austen-ness of this particular flower inheres, but it certainly looks pretty.

And Janeites can feel particularly virtuous about buying their own rosebush because a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Jane Austen’s House Museum, aka Chawton cottage. Later this year, a Jane Austen rose will also be planted in the museum’s garden. Where I hope to someday admire the results, since I’m unlikely to have one planted closer to home.

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