More Bee-Friendly Roses From David Austin

In addition to his new varieties, David Austin offers three beautiful bee-friendly roses.

Comte de Champagne

Comte de Champagne

‘Comte de Champagne’ has flowers of a rich yellow coloring which as they open, gradually turn to a pleasing pale yellow. They open to form a perfect open cup, with a ‘mop’ of stamens of deepest yellow; the whole providing a delightful range of color on the bush at one time. The growth is wide, low and bushy, producing its flowers on slender, arching stems. There is a delicious honey and musk fragrance that complements the flower to perfection. Healthy and free flowering.

This rose is named after Taittinger’s finest champagne. The president of Taittinger, M Claude Taittinger, is a descendant of Thibaut IV, Count of Champagne and Brie and who introduced R. gallica Officinalis (The Apothecary’s Rose) from Damascus on his return from the 7th Crusade in 1250. He was a great lover of roses and wrote about them in his poetry.

The Alexandra Rose

The Alexandra Rose

A tall and rather spreading shrub bearing dainty, coppery-pink flowers with a yellow center and pretty stamens. Its foliage shows signs of its Alba parent and the flowers have attractive, long conspicuous sepals on the opening bud. Hardy and disease-resistant.

It has a soft Musk Rose fragrance.

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens

This is not truly an English Rose but we include it here for convenience as it has connections with our Musk Hybrids. The flowers, which are small and single, are held in very large heads rather like a hydrangea and produced almost continuously from early summer through to the end of the season. The young buds are soft apricot opening to pure white, with a hint of soft lemon behind the stamens. The flowers are followed by small red hips which should be removed to encourage repeat flowering.

It is extremely healthy and completely thornless – an unusual thing among roses. It has a bushy but rather upright habit of growth, making it ideal for the back of a mixed border. A group of two or three or more bushes will provide a mass of white as though they were covered with snow. This rose is particularly suitable for forming a magnificent impenetrable flowering hedge.

We are naming this rose in celebration of the 250th anniversary of Kew Gardens. We are replanting the rose garden behind the famous Palm House, returning it to the layout of 1848 and filling it with a wonderful mixture of English Roses, Old Roses and other shrub roses.

New Year’s Eve – Mixed Winter Greens With Honey Champagne Vinaigrette

winter greens salad.

Yield:  4-6 servings


8 cups (10 oz. bag) mixed winter greens, such as frisée, arugula, mustard, beet greens, chicory, escarole.

1 pomegranate

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 clove garlic, minced

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Mix mustard, Champagne vinegar, honey and garlic.

Then, whisking constantly with a fork, slowly add 6 tablespoons olive oil, until the vinaigrette is thick and creamy

Dress clean, dry salad greens immediately before serving. Add pomegranate seeds for accent.

St. Cecilia Society Punch With Honey

st cecilia

St. Cecilia Society Punch is named for a famously private and exclusive social organization founded in Charleston, South Carolina, in the 18th century. My Oldest Friend Mary Ann makes this punch for New Year’s Day.

It doesn’t have the firepower of Chatham Artillery Punch, but that may be a good thing. It’s every bit as delicious though!


2 medium lemons, thinly sliced

3/4 cup brandy

3/4 cup honey

2 tea bags green tea

3/4 cup dark rum

1/2 small pineapple, peeled, cored, sliced 1/2 inch thick, and cut into small wedges

1 750-ml bottle Champagne

6 cups sparkling water, chilled


Put the lemon slices in a large bowl and pour the brandy over them. Let macerate at room temperature overnight.

In a small saucepan, combine the honey with 3/4 cup water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the honey dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags, and steep for 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the tea bags and let the syrup cool.

At least 3 hours and up to 6 hours before serving, combine the lemons, brandy, syrup, rum, and pineapple in a large pitcher or bowl. Chill in the refrigerator.

Just before serving, pour the punch into a large chilled punch bowl with a block of ice. Add the Champagne and sparkling water, and gently

Chatham Artillery Punch Redux

Colonial Ball Dance

While researching the history of Chatham Artillery Punch, I came across this hilarious blog post by someone named Velociman. I hope you enjoy his description of the awesome power of the Punch as much as I did!

Chatham Artillery Punch

How was my brother’s wedding? Stupor duper. The reception was well-lubricated by an ample supply of Chatham Artillery Punch. So much so that I booty-danced with Puddyhead whilst we both wore bird masquerade masks. More on that another day.

Yes, my brother was wise enough to whip up a couple of gallons of my mother’s signature Artillery Punch recipe. This stuff tastes like Kool-Ade, and humbles mere moonshine in neuron destruction.

The history: in colonial days the Chatham Artillery would have balls, as people with fancy uniforms are wont to do. The women would serve up punch, and the men would surreptitiously tipple their flasks into the punchbowl; hence the variegated nature of the Punch. Six liquors, wine, fruit, especial ingredients. Steeped for six weeks minimum, and served with champagne, freshly added.

My mother had an old recipe which she had tweaked a bit. Being a quite modest drinker, she had no reason to question the potency of the concoction. So every year at her Christmas party she would serve up the Punch. Her social circle basically consisted of Episcopalian movers and shakers, and it was always a pleasure to watch the old hens and jurists attempt to maneuver their stoles and suitcoats and land yachts as they struggled to figure out what mule had kicked them in the head.

From a tort point of view it was dangerous stuff, but we certainly enjoyed it. I personally nearly broke my neck performing an unintended almost one and a half gainer off my mother’s deck after 3 cups of the poison. I have seen single women kiss my priest in front of his wife, old men stick their tongues down The Bride’s throat, insane grab-ass on an unparallelled scale (often by me) at my mother’s parties after this Punch was deployed. All with great Anglican harumphing. My poor mother knew not what she wrought.

And so I was pleased, and infused with great nostalgia, when my brother went out of his way to produce the prime brew for his own wedding. From the original recipe. What a bro. He pleases me. My younger brother was pleased as well. He loves to watch me drink this stuff. Lookee: I ended up in an all-black daquiri bar at 1:30am with my niece and nephew after the reception, trying to purchase a Denny’s Slam. Grist for the mill.

And so: I will mix the greatest batch of Chatham Artillery Punch ever for the Spring Blogfest. Let us compare the effect to good old corn liquor. I am a prescient person. I predict a bit of mayhem. And I’ll be the guy dressed as an Anglican priest.

Holidays With Honey – Chatham Artillery Punch

punch 2artillery punch

Savannah’s Chatham Artillery is the oldest military organization in Georgia. This punch recipe originated with the C.A. over 200 years ago, and has been served in Savannah ever since. 

When President James Monroe sipped this concoction in 1819 while on a visit to Savannah, he dubbed it ‘suave and deceitful’.

This recipe is for a large party of thirsty revelers.

Warning:  This punch tends to take one by surprise.  Regrettably, the time period between pleasantly buzzed and black out drunk is a short one. Make sure your guests have a designated driver or be ready to insist that they sleep on your couch.

1 1/2 gallons strong tea
1 1/2 gallons Catawba, muscadine or scuppernong wine
1/2 gallon St. Croix rum
1 1/2 quarts rye whiskey
1 quart brandy
1 quart Gordon gin
1/2 pint Benedictine
2 1/2 pounds honey or a mixture of honey and brown sugar
1 bottle marachino cherries
Juice of 18 oranges
Juice of 18 lemons
Case of Champagne

1. Pour all ingredients except for the Champagne into a large, non-reactive container.
2. Cover and let rest for 36 to 48 hours.
3. Just before the party pour into a large punch bowl, over ice, and add the champagne.

Things will get lively shortly thereafter.

Cheery Cranberry Cocktails

Have you ever noticed how many mixed drinks contain cranberry juice? Why is that, I wondered?  

The answer was easy to find. Cranberry juice is unique in that it can can be paired with a variety of flavors and will nearly always taste great.

In many mixed drinks cranberry juice is used to finish off a drink or to give it that “something special”. Cranberry juice’s sweet and tart flavor pairs well with practically any type of alcohol including vodka, gin, bourbon, rum and tequila. It even enhances the flavor of Champagne!

In addition to the drinks below, there is cranberry juice in The Samhain and also in The Bee-tini, which you can find in Cooking With Honey.

Honey Cranberry Champagne Cocktail


  • 1-ounce cranberry juice (sweetened)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 wedge lime
  • Champagne or sparkling wine
  • Cranberries (frozen)


In a chilled Champagne flute add cranberry juice, honey and a squeeze of lime. Stir gently until honey is blended in.  Top off the glass with Champagne. Garnish with 3 or 4 cranberries.

Honey Cranberry Slush

Photo courtesy of Amy Marrero Doyle


1 cup frozen cranberry juice concentrate

1/2 cup honey

juice of 1 lemon

1 (12 ounce) can chilled lemon-lime soda

1 cup bourbon


In a medium bowl, stir together the cranberry juice concentrate, honey, lemon juice, lemon-lime soda and bourbon. Cover and freeze overnight. It will remain slushy because of the bourbon. Scoop spoonfuls into small glasses to serve as a cocktail.

Recipe makes 6 servings

Pink Champagne And Honey Cupcakes

I was feeling very feminine today, and these appealed to me!!  What is girlier than pink champagne and honey in cupcake form??

For the cupcakes

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup butter

1 cup honey

1/2 cups white sugar

1/2 cup champagne (the sweeter the better – go for at least a brut; extra-dry, sec, or even doux is best)

6 egg whites

4-5 drops red food coloring

For the champagne buttercream frosting

3-4 cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature, plus more for thinning if frosting is too thick.

4-5 drops red food coloring


For the cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two cupcake pans with liners.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, honey and sugar until very light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Alternate adding flour mixture and champagne into the creamed mixture.

In another large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

For the frosting

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together powdered sugar, honey and butter. Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another 2 minutes. Add vanilla and champagne, beating on medium for another minute. Transfer frosting into a decorating bag and decorate as desired.