Virginia Barton

13 July 2018: Roses roses all the way

13 July 2018


Did I mention that when BH died I planted a rose in his memory? I chose one named Thomas à Becket because BH died on the Archbishop’s Feast Day, December 29th. Here it is, a blood red bush rose, planted in a pot for as long as it will fit.



And I can’t mention St Thomas à Becket without including a photo I took many years ago of the sculpture above the altar that marks the place in Canterbury Cathedral where he was murdered most horribly.

It’s a striking bronze representing the four swords, two of them shadows, that did the deed, in the form of a ghostly Cross. The artist was Giles Blomfield of Truro.


Now I have found and planted another rose named Ghislaine de Feligonde, a rambler unsuitable for a pot, but very suitable for my friend who lived and travelled all over the world. Her husband was a diplomat.

She was one of those friends you meet and get on with immediately. I have been so lucky to know several, all alas gone before. But roses are a beautiful reminder and with care will last for ages.




  • Nadine says on: July 13, 2018 at 5:59 pm


    What a lovely rose, and what a lovely thing to plant.

    I too am very moved by the Becket shrine at Canterbury… and the TS Eliot play. I particularly like the lines about ‘the greatest treason/Is to do the right thing for the wrong reason.’ xxx

    Wimbledon is on as I write. 17 all in the fifth set; the longest match in the history of Wimbledon. Wow. xxx

    • Ginny says on: July 13, 2018 at 8:04 pm


      You have reminded me uncomfortably, Nadine, of the more than one occasion when I have officiously interfered, convinced that I was doing so for the right reason.

      Not with as drastic results as befell Becket, but quite serious enough, and blush-making to recall.

      As for Wimbledon, I have been mesmerised by President Trump and haven’t seen a set today — let alone this interminably long one! Ginny

  • Harry P says on: July 13, 2018 at 6:06 pm


    A lovely tribute, Virginia.

    I looked up the Thomas à Becket Rose and it is described as “particularly reliable” (like BH) and with blooms that are “more on the casual side, large and relaxed” and “visually appealing” — also like BH.

    The rose’s scent is “intoxicating” — I’ve no idea if that was BH!

    • Ginny says on: July 13, 2018 at 8:04 pm


      Harry you are spot on on all counts! Yes, yes, yes.

      ‘Intoxicating’? Possibly not; but never remotely offensive, I’m not sure why not, even after a hard game of squash in our early days together.

      I wonder where you found that lovely description of the rose? It wasn’t in my catalogue.

      It’s so extremely dry here the fight to keep the two roses alive means traipsing to and from the kitchen tap with the watering-can at least once a day. Ginny

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