Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dainty Bess

Thought I would do a post on the sweet rose 'Dainty Bess'. I fell in love with her when I first saw pictures of her in a catalog. I loved her purple stamens. She is one of my favorite roses. I like her singleness also. Have three single roses, Cocktail, Kathleen and Dainty Bess. They have such a simple beauty.

Below is some info from a few websites. Please visit them for more pictures and to check out other roses.


Old Garden Roses and Beyond

Dainty Bess, bred by Wm. E.B. & Daughter Archer, England 1925.

'Dainty Bess' is one of the most beloved of the single Hybrid Teas and it seems to have an eternal place in the inventory of nurseries around the world.

This rose grows as a typical Hybrid Tea; fairly upright growth with large, somewhat sparse foliage. Blooms are in clusters of up to 7 or more on main canes. The striking feature of 'Dainty Bess' is the center boss of mahogany tinted stamens which stand out in striking contrast to the soft shell-pink petals. Fragrance is only slight and disease resistance is no better than most Hybrid Teas, but this is a workhorse of a rose and will perform magnificently given reasonable care. Its a charming rose that deserves to be grown by every Hybrid Tea admirer.

There is also a climbing sport called simply 'Climbing Dainty Bess' which grows between 8 and 12 feet tall.

ARS merit rating: 7.3
Personal merit rating: undecided.
Hardiness: Likely USDA zones 6 to 10, zone 5 with considerable protection.
Shrub size: 2.5 to 4 feet tall X 2 feet wide.
Fragrance: 4.0, strong sweet fragrance, a hint of "Old Rose".


The Antique Rose Emporium

Dainty Bess

A personal favorite of the ARE staff, this delightful rose displays large single blooms of a soft silvery-pink on a three to four foot open bush. What makes this rose so distinctive is the ruffled edges of the petals and dark maroonish-brown stamens in the center. Leathery foliage and a delicate fragrance only add to its appeal. ‘Dainty Bess’ is a must for single rose collectors.

3 to 5 feet Z6-9



Comments: One of the few Hybrid Tea singles. A classic that has been grown and in commerce for a long long time. The purple stamens make this rose quite unusual and unique. It grows tall and narrow and upright, and must be pruned to the laterals to make it spread out.

Rogue Valley Roses

Surely, this rose has been hand painted again and again onto china. Its pink blooms with deeper reverse are made memorable by the purple stamens. The simplicity and fragrance are what win us and this rose retains its popularity today. It's parentage is 'Ophelia' and 'Kitchener of Khartoumn'. It is leggy, very upright and light of cane. Looks lovely with lavender growing at its knees.


The pictures below our from my Dainty Bess. I have two of her, as I made another plant from a cutting from the first one. This little rose makes my heart sing.



Jean Campbell said...

So delicate and pretty. It's always a treat to have a piece root so you have two.

Funny what you said about going to work to rest -- my sister ran a dairy, had five children in school and and an invalid husband. She said teaching third grade was the only time she ever got to sit down.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

That is a pretty and unusual one. I can see why you'd want to have more of her, how nice that the cutting grew!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Good morning Nell ~ Bet your gardens are looking more wonderful by the day. You have such a peaceful setting with space to work with, filled with lovely, blooming plants.

It is always a treat when a cutting roots. Speaking of cuttings, I need to make some more of different things that I'd like to spread around in my gardens.

Catherine ~ Being able to expand your gardens with cuttings that you've taken and they rooted is really nice and exciting. Not to mention it keeps the expense of gardening down. ;-)

Have a nice Sunday ~ FlowerLady

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I am not a rose grower, but would like to try an old kind that doesn't need chemicals to grow, maybe a climber. This one sure is pretty!

sweetbay said...

I have considered getting this rose many times, it's so lovely. I think the only thing holding me back is that it's a Hybrid Tea. The stamens really add to the beauty of Dainty Bess and I find the single rose form to be as appealing as a very full rose.

That's wonderful she rooted for you. I also grow roses from cuttings, or try to. The only ones I've had overwintering success with are ARE's R. palustris and some of my climbers. It's always fun when it works!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Hi Sue ~ I wasn't a rose grower when I started out either. Do a Google search in your area to see what roses will grow for you. Also check out the antique rose forum in GW and ask there.

Sweetbay ~ Dainty Bess is an older hybrid tea. I think, without checking, that she's my only HT. ~ I did a quick search this morning and found the following at

class: Hybrid Tea Rose
breeding: Archer, 1923

'Dainty Bess' is an exquisitely beautiful rose from the 1920's. The rose has charming single blooms and an elegant stature. The silky pink petals are sensitive to light, opening and closing over the stamens, in a way that is reminiscent of a prayer plant. They used to advertise this rose as The Artistic Rose. 'Dainty Bess' can bloom in clusters or singly. Harkness stated that their light pink petals are the, "backdrop for dusty heads and purple legs of its chorus of stamens". The rose displays the height of old Hybrid Tea refinement, the bush is full and somewhat Tea-like.

I just found this at

Bred in England and introduced in 1925, 'Dainty Bess' is one of the few single roses considered to be a hybrid tea rose. Although its delicate pink blossoms look more like a wild rose's, they are carried on a hybrid-tea-type bush. Some rosarians consider it the best single-flowered rose because of its easy habit, prolific all-season bloom, and beautiful flowers. It is also available as a climber.


I think she would make a lovely addition to your absolutely beautiful gardens. I visited your blog yesterday and wrote a comment in your Garden Bloggers Bloom Day thread, but don't see it there. Maybe I forgot to send it. Anyway, I thought your flowers and colors stunning, soothing, and beautiful. I wanted to walk around for hours taking it all in.

R. palustris (swamp rose) is a beauty and I'm sure you enjoy it. It is fun and exciting when cuttings take root, grow and bloom.

Happy Gardening to all ~ FlowerLady