Have you ever wanted to have dinner in the company of great figures from lgbt history like Benjamin Britten, Lawrence of Arabia or Dusty Springfield? Well, you can. You can enjoy the summer with a picnic in your garden or local park with all of three, and more.
This variation of the
fantasy dinner party idea where you take the meal outdoors and have the actual
people present, not in flesh and blood but as flowers in the garden. If you’ve
got green fingers you can create you own garden of gay blooms. Many garden
flowers and plants are named after real people, just like the asteroids I’ve
featured in my “Out of This World” series.
Let’s start by looking at
the most popular garden flower of all, the rose. As well as what I’d call the
“usual suspects” (i.e. those particularly well-known people who have just about
anything named after them, like Leonardo da Vinci, or Tchaikovsky) there’s a
wide range of lgbt people who have a rose named after them.
I’ve listed some roses
below which you might like. I give the name of the rose first followed by a
little information about each of them.
Mercury – Named after
the lead singer of Queen. It was first propagated in 1992, the year after his
death. His fan club raised the money to register his name for this rose. The
first Freddie mercury rose was given to his mother and sister, who live here in
Nottingham. Freddie’s favourite roses were yellow, and the rose named after him
is yellow with a pink tint to the edge of the petals. You can often see this
rose on sale at Queen conventions.
Franklin D. Roosevelt –
named after the First Lady of America, Eleanor Roosevelt. It is highly
appropriate that Eleanor has a rose named after her because, as I explained in
her “Queer Achievement” article, the family uses the rose as a family emblem.
The “Mrs. Franklin D Roosevelt” is a hybrid tea rose first propagated in 1933.
Eleanor remarked, “I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description
in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.”
Springfield – a light
pink floribunda rose named after the popular singer. It was bred by one of the
UK’s leading rose-breeders in 2001.
Albert Krupp – named
after one of the greatest industrialists in German who lived at the end of the
19th century. The rose was bred in Germany in 1903, the year after
his death. The flowers of this hybrid tea rose are similar to the “Freddie
Mercury” rose but smaller.
Blixen – one of the
whitest of white roses available. It was first propagated in 1994 and was named
after the author of “Out of Africa”. The heavily fragrant flowers grow in
clusters like an instant bouquet.
Britten – appropriately
for a typically English composer, the Benjamin Britten rose is a soft red
colour. It has orange tinges when it first blooms and the colour deepens as the
days pass. It has a fruity fragrance, described as having aspects of wine and
of Arabia – if you want
a really showy rose, then go for this one named after the famous adventurer,
soldier and writer. It is a hybrid tea rose, first propagated in 1988. The
flowers have a deep yellow-orange heart and the outer petals blend into pink
I hope this short wander
through the lgbt rose garden has inspired you to go out and create your own
fantasy picnic garden, or, if you haven’t got a garden, go out to your local
park and enjoy the company of some famous-named roses.
No doubt I’ll return to
the garden in the future with more rosy guests.