Jane Austen died this day in 1817. Visitors to the Museum may not be aware that some of the plants in the garden have been carefully chosen to commemorate Jane Austen’s life.
------------Visitors to the museum enter the house via a side door, and next to it is the entrance to the kitchen. In the summer this is framed with fragrant pale pink roses.
The rose is Blush Noisette, which was first raised from seed in America by the French horticulturist, Philippe Noisette. He sent plants of the rose to his bother, Louis Claude Noisette, in Paris, and he introduced it to the pubic in 1817. Which was, of course, the year Jane Austen died. The rose is a vigorous survivor from that year, rather in the way Jane Austen’s works and reputation have survived and blossomed for nearly 200 years since her untimely death which we commemorate today.
There are two roses growing here which neatly represent a link from Chawton with her final resting place, Winchester, and also with her enduring fame.
The beautiful white English Rose, Winchester Cathedral, which was bred by the famed rose breeder, David Austin, is planted in the borders surrounding the house. The rose is named after the place where Jane Austen died and was buried.
She left her home at Chawton for the last time on the 24th May 1817 in order to go to Winchester to be treated there. Her health was failing and she needed more expert care than could be provided by the local apothecary. She lived in lodgings in College Street, but her treatment there was not successful and she died on the 18th July. She was buried in the north aisle of Winchester Cathedral.
The rose is a beautiful creamy-white flower, and flowers throughout the season, and is a fitting link between the two places.
So, when you next visit the museum in summer do seek out these fragrant and very appropriately chosen roses, to remember the woman whose works have so enriched our lives.
Jane Austens house museum blog