With the unveiling of a number of new roses at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Hannah Stephenson looks at how to make the most of the country's favourite fragrant blooms

Dame Judi Dench, Alan Titchmarsh, Mary Berry and other celebrities may
all have roses named after them, but many of us have our own favourites, whether it be for blooms or fragrance.

Personally, I love Gertrude Jekyll, the velvety rich pink David Austin
variety I have growing in a border with large-flowered pink striped
Nelly Moser clematis, the waft of fragrance hitting me every time I walk
past it in the cool of the morning.

It's ironic though, that the headiest scents, which usually come from
the deeper, richer-coloured blousy bloomed varieties, are often more
attractive to people than they are to pollinating insects, which tend to
go for the simpler forms with paler colours, which in turn tend to be
less strongly scented.

Breeders have worked long and hard over the years to develop roses that
combine visual splendour with fragrance, yet it is a complex job. Rose
growers know that you can combine two fantastically fragrant parents and produce a seedling with no scent at all.

Also, some roses with amazing perfumes such as 'Whisky Mac' may struggle to make it through a harsh British winter. So your first priority is to choose a rose that is healthy and with good vigour.

They prefer rich soil in a sunny site and plenty of added organic
matter, because roses are hungry feeders. If you can, improve your soil
the previous winter with well-rotted manure and apply a dry feed in
early spring and again in early summer.

Place your roses where you will be able to enjoy their fragrance,
perhaps near a bench or climbing over an arbour where you sit in the
morning, when the fragrance tends to be strongest. Don't relegate prize
specimens to the back of the garden where you won't venture to
appreciate their beauty and fragrance.

Here are some of the new roses launched at this year's show to look out

Jane Austen rose

A bright orange floribunda rose, selected by the Jane Austen's House
Museum to mark the 200th anniversary of the author's death this year.
The bright orange colour was chosen to reflect the vibrancy of Austen's
characters, while its light and sweet scent and the depth of colour
radiates warmth. (Harkness, www.roses.co.uk)

Dame Judi Dench ('Ausquaker')

Named after one of Britain's most beloved stars of stage and screen,
this apricot-coloured rose has blooms that are resistant to rain damage
and a medium-strong fragrance that experts have described as combining classic tea with a fresh note of cucumber and a hint of kiwi. It's a vigorous grower, producing strong, arching stems which, over time, form an attractive mound of blooms. (David Austin,

Papworth's Pride

This pretty addition to a Modern Classic collection bears clusters of
large raspberry red, peony style flowers that unfold to reveal bright
yellow anthers that are a magnet to insects. Intensely perfumed with
bright, glossy, mid-green foliage, this medium-sized shrub looks great
planted en masse, in the middle of a herbaceous border or grown simply
in a tub as a specimen plant to enhance a patio or paved area. (Peter
Beales, www.classicroses.co.uk)

Vanessa Bell (Auseasel)

This English musk hybrid with rounded, pink tinged-buds opening to
reveal deep, medium-sized soft-lemon yellow cups in large, open
clusters, is named after the artist, designer and founder member of the
Bloomsbury Group, Vanessa Bell - sister of Virginia Woolf. Ten per cent
from the sale of each rose will be donated to The Charleston Trust,
Vanessa's former home, now managed and conserved by the charity for the benefit of the public. (www.davidaustinroses.com)