Harewood’s Princess and the rose of Yorkshire

HRH Princess Mary at Harrogate Flower Show.
HRH Princess Mary at Harrogate Flower Show.

HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Mary, made Harewood, near Leeds, her home between 1930 and 1965 and much of her life was an outdoor one, with the garden benefitting from her love of nature and her vision for unusual plants and cutting-edge planting schemes.

The results remain a legacy today and Harewood boasts award-winning formal and informal gardens.

To celebrate the enduring developmental work the princess spearheaded in the garden and as an appropriate pairing with Yorkshire Day, Harewood has unveiled a new rose that has been named after Princess Mary, Rosa Yorkshire Princess.

This special Jubilee year has been a busy one at Harewood House, near Leeds. The major summer exhibition, Royal Harewood celebrating the life of the Yorkshire Princess, was launched and continues into September, but it’s not an exhibition that stops at the door.

Aptly, much of her inspiration for the garden endures today with her original Rock Garden, now developed into the Himalayan Garden by Princess Mary’s grandson, the 8th Earl of Harewood, David Lascelles and head gardener Trevor Nicholson.

Mr Nicholson said: “The Rock Garden was one of the princess’s favourite parts of the garden and includes some of her favourite plants, such as the rare and exotic blue poppies, drumstick primula and blue gentians.

“In addition, the Lakeside Path is still adorned with the rhododendrons she collected, and on the Terrace, you can still see the eucryphia she planted, now one of the largest in the north of England, which still flowers for only three to four weeks each August.

“Princess Mary was a very keen gardener and plantswoman who made a significant impact on the gardens here, introducing many elements of the gardens which our visitors still enjoy today.

“As patron of the Royal National Rose Society from 1953 to 1965, Princess Mary indulged her love of roses so to mark this year’s special Royal Harewood exhibition, a rose was the ideal way to create a lasting tribute.

“The pure white petal, soft blush centre and sweet scent give a traditional feel, in-keeping with old-style roses and perfect for a Yorkshire Princess.”

Rosa Yorkshire Princess will be launched at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show in September.

Show director Martin Fish, and columnist for this newspaper (see page 94), said: “HRH Princess Mary was Patron of the North of England Horticultural Society for nearly two decades so it is particularly fitting that we should launch a rose dedicated to her during this special Diamond Jubilee year.”

Rosa ‘Yorkshire Princess’ will also be available to order online for delivery from November. For more information go to www.dickson-roses.co.uk and from the Harewood Shop in summer 2013. HRH Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, who visited Harewood in April this year, was presented with the Rose as a gift to celebrate her visit.

For further details on the exhibition and the rose, visit www.harewood.org/rose

Rosa Yorkshire Princess


A Princess Mary Gardens trail is available for children to explore the gardens at Harewood and find out more about her life there.

The rose has been bred by Colin Dickson of Dickson Nurseries Ltd, Co Down, Northern Ireland, a family company which has been involved with the growing of roses since 1836, and with rose breeding since 1879. Colin Dickson is the sixth generation of the family.


Rosa Yorkshire Princess is a cross breed and has the parentage Nice ‘n’ Easy x Regensberg; breeder Colin Dickson, Dickson Nurseries Ltd, Co Down; patio/groundcover; hybridised in 2005; blooms in clusters, white with hint of Orient pink; slight sweet scent; height 66cm, spread 65cm; flowers continuously throughout the summer.


The Harrogate Autumn Flower Show, organised by the North of England Horticultural Society, is on at the Great Yorkshire Showground on September 14-16. Attractions for 2012 include new show garden borders, a giant vegetable competition, Britain’s biggest exhibition by specialist gardening groups and National Vegetable Championships.