I'm taking bets on the first rose to bloom. The normally reliable pinks Dr W.van Fleet and Constance Spry are a little behind the pace. Ivory Boule du Neige is recovering from a drastic winter pruning but making valiant attempts to keep up with the field. New entrant is the Queen of Sweden with well rotted manure as performance enhancer. Outsiders include white Iceberg and the lovely apricot rose which I do not know the name of but the carmine Zephirine Drouhin appears to have died so there will need to be an inquest and much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Top favourite to win is Abi's pink rose - a wonderful, vigorous, much treasured bush. I will report back.