Born free rose launched to mark virginia mckenna’s 90th birthday


Beautiful New Rose ‘The Lion’ Will Benefit Wild Animal Welfare And Conservation.

To celebrate the 90th birthday of a ‘lioness’ of the animal welfare world, our Co-Founder Virginia McKenna OBE, Harkness Roses have launched a new rose for those who care about the natural world.

The Virginia McKenna Rose, launched by acclaimed rose grower Philip Harkness some years ago, is now to be joined by the Born Free Rose, known as ‘The Lion’, to commemorate a very special day and raise funds for Born Free’s welfare and conservation work.

The Born Free Rose is a stunning floribunda shrub of vibrant apricot and orange tones and is the perfect colour to symbolise lions in the wild.

Harkness Roses, world renowned rose growers and breeders for over 140 years, are donating up to £2.50 for each Virginia McKenna and Born Free rose sold. Every 4,000 roses sold would provide a year’s care for a rescued lion. 

Will Travers OBE, explained: “Wild lions are in desperate trouble, down from more than 100,000 across Africa when the film Born Free was made fifty-five years ago to, perhaps, 20,000 today. On top of that, captive lions are dreadfully abused in circuses, roadside zoos and as part of the widely condemned ‘canned hunting’ industry. Funds raised through the sale of these exquisite, perfumed and pollinator friendly roses will support us in providing lifetime care to rescued lions at our sanctuary. We could not be more delighted.”

Philip Harkness, chairman of Harkness Roses said: “We are a family business, dedicated to sustainability, beauty and, of course, healthy, easy to care for, high-quality roses. I am honoured to be partnering with Virginia, Will, and Born Free to help them in their mission to care for lions rescued from distress and protect this increasingly threatened species in the wild. This stunning new rose will not only raise vital funds for the foundation but is sure to wow in any garden.”

The Born Free rose costs £15.99 potted or £20.99 potted and gift wrapped, with £2.50 from every sale being donated. Use code BORN20 for 20% off your next order.