‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ – Rose of the Year 2022!

Rosa ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ – Winner of the Rose of the Year 2022!

I absolutely adore roses, their flowers can be everything I want in a bloom; roses can be sumptuous, glamorous, and luxurious, yet also relaxing and comforting.  I find the scents of my favourite roses feel uplifting and reviving.  Every year, I look forward with great anticipation to meeting the winner of the Rose of the Year Competition.

The ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ rose produces large blooms made up of over sixty petals. This is a rose with strong stems that hold the flowers upright.

This year, I missed the official unveiling of the Rose of the Year 2022; I want to thank Roses UK and Dickson Roses for sending me my own ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ rose.  It has been an absolute pleasure to start to get to know the winner of the Rose of the Year 2022 Competition.

What is the Rose of the Year Competition?

Rosa ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is a floribunda rose that has won the prestigious title of the Rose of the Year 2022.

The Rose of the Year Competition is an annual event that was first held in 1982.  Each year, Roses UK invite rose breeders to enter their very best roses into this prestigious competition.  The roses are trialled over a two year period, six years prior to the rose’s commercial release.  The contenders are grown together in a diverse range of locations across the UK – from Aberdeen to Northern Ireland, East Anglia, and Hampshire; this allows the judges to assess the plants in different soils and growing conditions.  The health of the roses, their form, colour, scent, and the quantity of flowers they produce, are some of the characteristics that are evaluated by the judges when they select the winner of The Rose of the Year Competition.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ roses produce large flowers that increase in size as the petals open out. If you like peonies, you’ll love this rose; as their flowers have a similar appearance.

Rose Breeder, Colin Dickson

Philip Harkness presents rose breeder Colin Dickson, of Dickson Roses, with the Rose of the Year 2018 trophy. Rosa ‘Lovestruck’ was the winner of The Rose of the Year 2018 Competition!

Colin Dickson is an award-winning rose breeder who has bred seven roses which have been awarded the coveted title of the winner of the Rose of the Year Competition; this is an amazing achievement!  ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is Colin Dickson’s newest award-winner and the holder of the title Rose of the Year 2022.

Colour changing flowers!

Colour changing flowers are very cool! The ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ flowers begin life as a vibrant coral colour and end their days as a creamy parchment shade.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is a floribunda rose.  One of the exciting things about this rose is its colour-changing flowers.  Rosa ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ flowers begin life as quite a vibrant deep coral coloured flower bud; as the bud opens the blooms quickly take on soft golden highlights.  The flower’s outer petals soon turn a glowing creamy golden pastel shade and the flowers soften to a pretty shade of apricot.  ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ roses transition in colour as they age, turning warm shades of coral through peach, apricot, parchment and cream.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ roses start life as intense and vibrant coral-coloured buds.
As ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ roses open they develop these gorgeous soft peach highlights. The centre of each flower retains its intensity but the whole flower takes on a new softness.
Here’s my ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ rose. The flowers begin life as deep coral-coloured flower buds; the buds open to reveal dark peach-coloured flowers with golden highlights. The flowers soon age to a lovely soft apricot-colour, before aging to a gentle parchment or cream colour.

Rose scent

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ roses have a medium-strength perfume that has a distinctive orange character blended with tea rose and a fresh hint of lemon.

I’ve spent my life on a permanent mission to find the most beautifully scented roses that also offer accessible pollen for bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects.  At times I can be disappointed when I meet a new rose for the first time, as plants aren’t always as highly scented as their marketing brochures describe.  It was a lovely surprise to discover that ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ roses are blessed with a medium strength perfume.  This rose won’t fill your garden with scent, but take the opportunity to bring your nose to a flower and you’ll enjoy this rose’s lovely warm rose perfume.  ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ roses produce a soft and warm fragrance with definite notes of orange, which are nicely complimented by a traditional rose scent.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ roses are fully double. These roses take time to unfurl their petals and develop into full size flowers.

Rose ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ size

Let me introduce you to a brand new, award-winning rose called ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. This is the winner of the Rose of The Year 2022 Competition! Rosa ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ was bred by Colin Dickson from Dickson Roses.

I’ve not had my ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ rose for very long, but I’m told that Rosa ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ will grow up to around 1m (3.3ft) tall.  This rose forms a bushy plant that’s about as wide as it is tall.

I’ve only owned this rose for a short time, but in my care this ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ rose has been absolutely drenched in many downpours! These flowers have not ‘balled’, as many double-flowered roses are inclined to do.

Planting roses

When planting ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ choose a sunny or partial shaded area of your garden.  This rose will thrive in any moist but well-drained soil.  What does that mean?  Regular soil that isn’t protected from the rain – soil that rainwater runs through and then drains away.  Avoid areas where the soil tends to be wet or waterlogged.

As the ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ rose blooms mature and all their petals open out, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ roses reveal their centres. In doing so they allow their pollen to be accessible to insects, during the later stages of each flower’s life.

Before you plant your rose, thoroughly weed the area.  It’s so much easier to properly clear weeds prior to planting, compared to trying to manoeuvre and tease reluctant weeds out from around a planted rose!

I always recommend using mycorrhizal fungi when planting roses (and many other plants).  Mycorrhizal fungi are found naturally in our soils, these beneficial fungi form symbiotic relationships with almost all plants.  The mycorrhizal fungi help plants to develop a more extensive root system than the plant could otherwise achieve on its own.  This souped up power allows the plant to establish itself quickly and access more nutrients and water, from a wider area.  In exchange, the fungi receive sugars and carbon from the plant.  You can harness these benefits for your plants, by purchasing concentrated amounts of mycorrhizal fungi and applying to your plant’s roots at planting time.  This is not something you can easily add retrospectively, so do remember to purchase your mycorrhizal fungi in time; special packs for roses are available.

I like to mulch around my roses with home-made compost or good quality peat-free compost.  My favourite compost for roses is Dalefoot Composts’ Double Strength Wool Compost; this is a fantastic nutrient-rich, peat-free compost.

Buy bare root roses!

This is the winner of the Rose of The Year 2022 Competition! Rosa ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ was bred by Colin Dickson of Dickson Roses.

I am such a huge advocate for buying bare root roses!  This method of growing and selling roses is more environmentally friendly than the processes used to cultivate container grown plants, saving both water (field grown plants require far less water than container grown plants) and plastic (no plastic containers are required – wax can be used to prevent the roots desiccating – plastic-free packaging can be used), plus it’s more cost effective too!

Best of all, I’ve found that roses that are bought bare root tend to form much stronger, healthier plants.  If you’d like to order ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, please click here to visit Dickson Roses’ website where you can place your order for bare root roses that will be delivered in the dormant season (from October to February).

When your bare root roses arrive, store them in a cool but frost-free place – a shed, or garage is ideal.  Unwrap your plants and soak their roots in a bucket full of water for 24 hours.  Remember to plant in weeded soil or in containers filled with a good quality peat-free growing medium.  Apply mycorrhizal fungi to your plant’s roots before you plant.  Water your rose in and then mulch with home-made garden compost or a good quality peat-free compost.

To see all of my articles about Flower Trials, please click here.

To see all of my articles about roses, please click here.

To see pictures and information about more stunning roses, please click here.

To see all the articles I’ve written about Dickson Roses, please click here.

To see all of the articles I’ve written about the Rose of the Year Competition, please click here.

To read about David Austin Roses new releases for 2020/2020, please click here.

To see all of the articles I’ve written about David Austin Roses, please click here.

To see the shortlisted roses and the winner of the Rose of the Year 2018 Competition, as well as the most fragrant roses at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, please click here.

For more articles about roses, please click here.

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One thought on “‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ – Rose of the Year 2022!

  1. Lisa G

    October 2, 2021 at 3:44pm

    Hi, I managed to find one of these at a recent plant fair, which was unexpected. It is as lovely as your pictures, and flowering away – a great addition already! Gorgeous colours and shape.

    Before the rain started today, I managed to cut some flowers for the kitchen, and they do smell lovely (not overpoweringly) of, um, watermelon. Or that is what I smell, anyway!

    I personally think that rose scent is not just subjective by individual, but maybe affected by other environmental factors (weather, position, sun, soil, water).

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      October 3, 2021 at 12:42am

      Oh wow – what a great find, Lisa! I am so happy to know that you’ve got a rose and you’re enjoying it. I totally agree with you that a plant’s fragrance can be affected by many other factors, as well as the cultivar. I hope you and your rose have a very happy future together! Wishing you a very happy weekend.

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