Following the launch of the Nelson Mandela Rose in 2018, we've rounded up five roses named after South Africans who've made a mark in our country's history.
Five Roses Named After South Africans We Love
Last year, South African High Commissioner Nomatemba Tambo unveiled the Nelson Mandela Rose at a cocktail party at the High Commission of South Africa in London's Trafalgar Square. The prestigious event was one of the first in a year-long celebration of the former South African president, who would have turned 100 on 18 July 2018. With its striking orange-vermillion hue and stems that can reach over 1m tall, the rose was greeted with great enthusiasm, and has been planted at the family residence of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.
But this striking bloom is just one of many roses named after South Africans we love. In fact, you could plant a small rosarium with roses dedicated to important figures from our country’s history. Below are a few of the dedication roses that you can buy to grow in your own garden.
5 Roses Named After South Africans We Love
1. Nelson Mandela Rose (Novelty floribunda)
Named after South Africa's late iconic leader, the Nelson Mandela Rose was grown to celebrate his colourful life and story. According to horticulturist Keith Kirsten, who was responsible for developing the rose, it ‘grows strongly, is tall (reaching head height), and matures into a stately floribunda bush, covered in shiny, dark green foliage. Like Madiba’s shirts, that were flowery, loose-fitting and informal, this rose eschews the classical, formal rose shape for semi-double blooms that are carried in profusion on the bush. It is a disease-resistant garden stalwart, that can stand proudly on its own as a focal point in a garden or can be planted as a screen for a wall or fence.’
2. Desmond Tutu Rose (Kortutu floribunda)
Ludwig’s Roses created a ‘sparkling red rose’ in October 2006 to celebrate Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s 75th birthday, and help raise money for the Tygerberg Children’s Hospital in Cape Town of which the Archbishop and Mrs Tutu are patrons. We just can’t get over its beautiful, deep colour, and it’s also described as ‘moderately fragrant’, so it should bring you as much sensory happiness as the Arch’s famous giggle.
3. Dikgang Moseneke Rose (Kormonajac floribunda)
South African judge and former Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa, Dikgang Moseneke, got his own namesake rose after he stepped down as chairman of Telkom. Ludwig’s Roses describes the rose as a ‘red garden cut rose that will be equally suitable amongst hybrid tea roses. The urn-shaped buds of scarlet red develop slowly into large, very full blooms. They are long lasting and each one is carried on strong stems. The bush is vigorous, grows to medium height and is very prolific.’
4. Walter Sisulu Rose (Korcoluma floribunda) and Albertina Sisulu Rose (Diczombie floribunda)
Partners and liberation heroes Walter and Albertina Sisulu were both honoured with roses, and each one is beautifully different. Walter’s blooms as a bush of urn-shaped red roses, and Albertina’s as white, creamy, intensely-fragrant stems. Walter’s are described as plants that ‘flower well from the early stage after planting, gathering strength to soon grow to a staggering height of 3m with perfect specimen blooms appearing all over the rose continuously. The unblemished red blooms are of the desired sharply pointed urn shape, with the petals spiralling during the opening period, retaining a perfect symmetry at all times.’
Albertina’s are described just as beautifully. ‘She is a powerful and vigorous rose. Shapely, fully symmetrical blooms unfold from a tight bud to a large open bloom. [It also features a] distinct rose fragrance and sprouts superb new shoots from the base before developing a candelabra of pickable blooms. Enormous canes arch gracefully with the weight of many blooms, which thrive on low maintenance.'
5. Nomzamo Rose (Ludjealosa floribunda)
In 2018, actress, television personality, businesswoman and human rights activist Nomzamo Mbatha became one of the youngest South Africans to get her own namesake rose. ‘Not only does she radiate beauty, confidence and grace, but she is an actress, presenter, spokesmodel, humanitarian and South Africa’s media darling,’ say Ludwig’s Roses of Mbatha.
They describe the rose as, ‘a stately, upright plant clothed with glossy foliage that provides an endless supply of densely petalled rosette-shaped blooms with a moderate scent. The colour is a warm salmon apricot. A group of three will provide a nice focal point in any garden. When planted in a row, a neat, head-high flowering hedge is easily created.’
To start your own collection of roses named after South Africans, the plants are available from Ludwig’s Roses directly on their website, or from retailers like Malanseuns, Keith Kirsten Waterfall Wilds and other local garden centres and retail stores.