The launch of The Dame Deborah James Rose

The Harkness Rose Company has announced the Dame Deborah James Rose in honour of the bowel cancer campaigner, writer and broadcaster, Dame Deborah James. £2.50 from the sale of each rose will be paid to the Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK.

The Dame Deborah James Rose
The Dame Deborah James Rose - credit: The Harkness Rose Company

The new white rose variety from The Harkness Rose Company has been named in honour of Dame Deborah James. Deborah, also known as Bowelbabe, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 and heartbreakingly announced last week that she had stopped active treatment and was receiving hospice-at-home care. Capturing the hearts of the nation with her determination to raise money and awareness, Deborah has since raised more than £6 million  for the Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK and personally received her Damehood from the Duke of Cambridge last Friday.

After being approached by Ian Kennedy of Roses UK and working closely with Deborah’s family, The Harkness Rose Company will be introducing the Dame Deborah James Rose on their stand at Chelsea Flower Show next week. The rose will also be incorporated into the company’s new Community Gardening Scheme which aims to get more vulnerable groups and people from underrepresented backgrounds involved in gardening. Harkness have pledged to give away 1,000 Dame Deborah James Roses to Community Gardens across the UK this Autumn time.

Dame Deborah was presented with a bouquet of her new rose earlier this week at her family home and commented: “What a stunning rose to be named after me. Roses are my favourite flowers and I hope this one will brighten the smiles for all”.

Philip Harkness, chairman of The Harkness Rose Company, said: “Dame Deborah has been inspirational in her tireless efforts to raise awareness of bowel cancer. I am honoured to be introducing this rose for her and I am sure it will be a favourite in the nation’s gardens. I am proud that we can launch this rose in aid of the Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK, and the charity donation from every rose sold will help ensure Deborah’s legacy lives on.”

The Dame Deborah James Rose Information:

This new floribunda produces masses of white blooms with a subtle blush pink centre from early June to the first frosts. The blooms are perfectly set out against the dark green, glossy foliage. This variety is suitable for beds, borders or large patio containers. It is an absolutely superb variety that is easy to grow and will perform well in all gardens. 

Rose Type: Floribunda

Scent: Medium Fragrance

Health: 10/10

Height: 80cm

Width: 60cm 

£2.50 from the sale of each Dame Deborah James Rose will be paid to Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK. Cancer Research UK is a registered charity No: 1089464 in England and Wales, SC041666 in Scotland and 1103 in the Isle of Man and 247 in Jersey.

The Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK will support causes and projects that Deborah and her family are passionate about, such as funding clinical trials and research into personalised medicine for cancer patients, including projects in collaboration with partners such as The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden, and supporting campaigns to raise awareness of cancer such as Bowel Cancer UK’s Never Too Young campaign.  

Ian Kennedy of Roses UK commented: “We are honoured to have played a small part in arranging the naming of this rose for Dame Deborah James. It’s always a pleasure to be involved in rose naming’s and this one is particularly special - the perfect rose for an exceptional and courageous lady”.

The new rose will be offered for pre-order via The rose will be available as bare root only for delivery in autumn 2022.

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