David Austin’s English Roses

Up until the late 19th Century, nursery catalogues listed a huge variety of different rose types from the Species Roses and Old European varieties (Gallicas, Damasks, Albas, Centifolias and Mosses)  to China Roses and all the progeny of rose hybridization since the latter’s introduction to the West: the Boursaults, Bourbons, Portlands, Hybrid Perpetuals, Noisettes, Teas and early Hybrid Teas and Floribundas.

However, with the development and increased popularity of the Hybrid Tea over the early 20th Century, many of the earlier varieties of rose began to disappear and today, many of them have vanished without  a trace.

Fortunately, there were still some famous gardeners, who kept the Old Roses going:

Gertrude Jekyll and Edward Mawley wrote a book titled: Roses For English Gardens in 1901, which can be downloaded from the Biodiversity Library website: http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/29702#/summary.

Constance Spry (1886-1960) was one of the first collectors of Old Roses in the 20th Century and Vita Sackville-West (1892-1962) grew many heritage varieties in her garden at Sissinghurst Castle.

Graham Stuart Thomas (1909-2003), who met the 88 year-old Gertrude Jekyll in his early days at Hillings, Woking, started collecting Old Roses in the 1950s, expanding the collection at his own Sunningdale Nursery, before finding it a permanent home at Mottisfont. See my post on the Rose Gardens of England at: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/10/24/bucket-list-of-rose-gardens-in-england/.

Other collectors retrieved Old Roses from neglected gardens , historic homesteads, cemeteries and roadsides all over the world. See my post on the Barossa Old Rose Repository at: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/03/14/barossa-old-rose-repository-and-the-twentieth-century-and-heritage-rose-gardens-of-the-waite-institute/.

By the time I started my own garden in the early 1980s, Old Roses were making a come-back with Peter Beales, UK, at the helm of their revival. See the second entry in my post at: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/10/24/bucket-list-of-rose-gardens-in-england/.

However, the other big name in the rose world at the time was David Austin (1926-), now 91 years old. Here is the story of his journey in the rose world!

History

David grew up on a farm in Albrighton, Shropshire, where he still lives today. Initially starting farming like his father, he became increasingly interested in gardening, especially in amateur rose breeding.

He loved the shrubby form of Old Rose bushes and the beautiful scent of their blooms, with their wide variety of flower forms, which provided so much more interest than the uniformly pointed buds of the Hybrid Teas. There were single, semi-single and double forms, of which there were flat, recurving or cupped rosettes; deep and shallow cups; and even pompom-shaped flowers, depicted in this photograph from Page 33 of David Austin’s English Roses, Australian Edition, 1996:BlogEngRosesReszd2017-09-29 09.24.10However, to some people’s eyes, Old Roses had two major drawbacks, compared to the Hybrid Teas:

Their muted colour range: Only whites, pinks, crimsons and purples, compared to the bright colours and yellows, oranges, peaches and apricots of the Hybrid Teas (though the climbing Noisettes do have yellows in their colour range, but here we are talking about the bush forms only); and

The fact that they only flower once in the Summer. Personally, I have never really accepted these criticisms, especially the latter, as most of our garden shrubs are only once-flowering eg Spiraea, Weigelas and Viburnums, but with the decreasing size of the modern garden, recurrency plays an increasingly important role, providing more colour and scent for money, and I must admit that I too am guilty of this in our Moon Bed, here in our small garden at Candelo- more later!!!

As early as the late 1940s, David Austin conceived the notion of breeding Old Roses with the modern Hybrid Teas and Floribundas to maximize the advantages of each and produce healthy, vigorous shrubs with flowers with the form and scent of Old Roses, but the colour range and remontancy of the modern rose.

He started experimenting in the 1950s and by 1961, had produced his first rose Constance Spry, named after the famous flower arranger. I grew this rose against the tennis court fence in my Armidale garden, seen in the photo below.BlogEngRosesReszd50%Image (168)A progeny of a short Gallica, Belle Isis, and a strong, though not tall, Floribunda, Dainty Maid, Constance Spry bears deeply-cupped, soft-pink flowers with a myrrh scent, but unfortunately, like all first crosses, only flowers once in the Summer.BlogEngRosesReszd20%IMG_9461 The repeat-flowering gene is recessive, so Constance Spry had to be back-crossed at least once more with other repeat-flowering roses to ensure the recurrent-flowering ability.

Some of these roses included:

Ma Perkins, a Floribunda, which produced copious seed, which germinated well and was one of the few modern roses to have the cupped shape of Old Roses (like that of a Bourbon); Mme Caroline Testout, an early Hybrid Tea with globular flowers with numerous petals, seen in the photo below; and another Hybrid Tea, Monique.BlogModRosesReszd20%IMG_9267Other crosses involved other Gallicas like Duchesse de Montebello, Duchesse d’Angoulême and R. gallica officinalis; Damasks like La Ville de Bruxelles, Marie Louise and Celsiana; and Albas, Königan von Dänemark and Mme Legras St. Germaine.

For example:

Shropshire Lass 1968, a cross between Mme Butterfly, an early Hybrid Tea and an Alba, Mme Legras St Germaine, which is Summer flowering only.

Scintillation, 1968, a cross between R. macrantha, and Hybrid Musk, Vanity,  and

The Prioress, 1969, a cross between Bourbon, Reine Victoria, and a seedling;

Some of the early roses from crosses between Ma Perkins, Monique, Mme Caroline Testout and Constance Spry,  all pink and all recurrent-flowering, unless otherwise specified, include:

Wife of Bath 1969 , bred from a cross between Mme Caroline Testout x (Ma Perkins x Constance Spry). For a photo, see: https://www.helpmefind.com/rose/pl.php?n=2557;

Canterbury 1969, bred from a cross between (Monique x Constance Spry) x seedling;

Dame Prudence 1969, a cross between Floribunda, Ivory Fashion, and another cross (Constance Spry x Ma Perkins);

The Yeomen 1969, a cross between Ivory Fashion x (Constance Spry x Monique);

The Friar 1969, a cross between a seedling and Ivory Fashion;

Chaucer 1970, a cross between a Hybrid Gallica, Duchesse de Montebello and Constance Spry. For a photo, see: https://www.helpmefind.com/rose/l.php?l=2.1112.1 ; and

The Miller, 1970, a cross between Hybrid Perpetual, Baroness Rothschild, and Chaucer.

Other early breeding programs focused on achieving a red colour range. To develop his red roses, David Austin crossed a single red Floribunda, Dusky Maiden, with a very old deep red Gallica, Tuscany, to produce Chianti, 1967, with its large, highly scented, deep crimson rosette blooms, again flowering only once, in early Summer.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0247 Further breeding , including the introduction of red Hybrid Tea, Château de Clos Vougeot, seen in the photo above, which is a rather weak shrub in the UK, into the breeding program has resulted in red family of English Roses, which is slightly on the smaller size. These include:

The Knight 1969 A cross between a Bourbon, Gipsy Boy and Chianti, but it has been discontinued as the plant is rather weak and later:

Glastonbury 1974 The Knight x seedling;

The Squire 1977 The Knight x Château de Clos Vougeot, a much stronger rose than its David Austin bred-parent; and further crosses between English Roses,

Prospero 1982 A similar cross to The Squire;

Wise Portia 1982 and Wenlock 1984 , both crosses of The Knight x Glastonbury; and

Othello 1986 A cross between two English Roses, Lilian Austin x The Squire.

By 1970, David Austin had a small range of roses ready to be launched, many of them named after characters in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales  (including Wife of Bath 1969, Canterbury 1969, both still available, and The Prioress 1969, The Yeomen 1969, Dame Prudence 1969, The Friar 1969, The Knight 1969, The Miller 1970 and Chaucer 1970, all since deleted from sale), so he formed his nursery, David Austin Roses Ltd., to introduce the public to his English Roses, as they became known.

While the early English Roses had a good fragrance and the Old Rose beauty, they were still not as robust as David Austin wanted, so he continued to cross them with other repeat-flowering shrubby Old Roses like Portlands (especially Comte de Chambord), Bourbons and Hybrid Perpetuals. Also, he still did not have any yellow shades, a problem which was rectified by the use of some influential roses:

Iceberg, the highly popular white Floribunda, bred by Kordes in 1958, which is exceptionally repeat-flowering, continuing right through into the Winter, and has strong, broad and busy dense growth.

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Iceberg

The first crosses produced a perfect soft pink rosette, but the plant suffered badly from blackspot like its Iceberg parent. Backcrossing with some of the better English Roses, did produce some very good varieties like Perdita 1983 and Heritage 1984 ; and his famous yellow English Rose, Graham Thomas 1983, a cross between Charles Austin x (Iceberg x Seedling);

Aloha, a climbing Hybrid Tea with highly fragrant flowers with an Old Rose form, bred from New Dawn, a highly disease-resistant repeat-flowering Wichuraiana Rambler, producing some very strong larger varieties with larger flowers like Charles Austin 1983 (Chaucer x Aloha); and Golden Celebration 1992.

Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, a Rugosa Hybrid, which is a cross between Noisette, Gloire de Dijon, and another unknown Rugosa Hybrid. Rugosas are highly disease-resistant and vigorous. Crosses with Chaucer produced yellow and apricot English Roses with large highly fragrant rosette blooms like Tamora 1983 and Jayne Austin 1990 and Evelyn 1991, the latter two both crosses between Graham Thomas and Tamora. Here is a photo of Evelyn from my garden:BlogEngRosesReszd20%IMG_0342To date, David Austin has bred more than 200 English Roses. Today, the nursery is managed by David JC Austin, the eldest son of David CH Austin, and is one of Britain’s leading rose nurseries. Every year, there are 50,000 crosses between April and July to germinate more than 250,000 seedlings the following year, the most outstanding of which are subject to  eight years of field trials. Eventually, only three to six new varieties will be released each year at the Chelsea Flower Show in London. The latest releases for 2017 are cerise pink James L Austin, rich apricot Dame Judi Dench and soft yellow Vanessa Bell.

Description

Growth

Shrub roses with full bushy or arching growth, usually 1.2 metres high or less. Here is a photo of Troilus from my Moon Bed:BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-08 15.41.44Flower Form:

Single: Ann; The Alexandra Rose;

Semi-Double : Windflower; Scarborough Fair; and Cordelia;

Rosette: Eglantyne (flat); Mary Rose; and The Countryman;

Deep Cupped: Brother Cadfael; Golden Celebration; Heritage; and Jude the Obscure;

Shallow Cupped: Crown Princess Margareta; Sweet Juliet; and Teasing Georgia;

Recurved: Grace and Jubilee Celebration.

Flower Scent:

Old Rose Fragrance: Gertrude Jekyll; Eglantyne; and Brother Cadfael;

Tea Fragrance: William Morris, Graham Thomas; Pat Austin; and Sweet Juliet;

Myrrh Fragrance: Constance Spry; Chaucer; and Cressida;

Musk Fragrance: Francine Austin; The Generous Gardener; Molineux; and Windrush;

Fruit Fragrance: Jude the Obscure; Leander; and Yellow Button.

Varieties of English Rose

There are six groups of English Roses and I will be discussing some of their famous examples, especially those which I am now growing:

1.Old Rose Hybrids:

The original English Roses, including once-flowering Constance Spry, which lean very much toward the Old Roses in character.

Small bushy shrubs with rosette-shaped flowers.

White, blush, pink, deep pink, crimson and purple flowers, though two varieties, Jude the Obscure and Windrush, are yellow.

Old Rose fragrance, though often mixed with the scents of tea, myrrh, lily of the valley, lilac and almond blossom.

Repeat-flower regularly, unless otherwise specified.

Here are some examples:

Fair Bianca 1982 Of unknown parentage (though in their book, The Quest for the Rose,  Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix state that Belle Isis is part of its parentage), this small shrub has white, medium, very double blooms, opening to flat and quartered rosettes.BlogEngRosesReszd20%IMG_0467 With its contrasting pink tipped buds, it is very popular for bridal bouquets, an ideal use as its strong myrrh fragrance tends to go off after a day or two, to my nose anyway!BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-11 16.10.15 We grew masses of them at Soho Rose Farm, where Ross, who had to prune these low bushes, christened them Fair Little Buggers! Nevertheless, we inherited one from Soho, which is now thriving in our Soho Bed.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0094Pretty Jessica 1983 A cross between Wife of Bath and a seedling, this short, compact shrub, with fragrant warm rich pink rosette flowers, repeats well, but needs regular spraying due to its poor resistance to disease and it is no longer available.BlogEngRosesReszd2014-10-25 14.01.00Mary Rose 1983 A cross between the Wife of Bath and The Miller, this medium-sized, twiggy shrub has small clusters of large, cupped rose-pink blooms with a light Old Rose fragrance with a hint of honey and almond, in flushes throughout the season. For a photo, see: http://www.davidaustinroses.com/eu/mary-rose. It was named after Henry VIII’s flagship, which was recovered from the Solent 400 years later, and was one of the first English Roses, along with Graham Thomas, to become widely popular after the introduction of Constance Spry.

Mary Rose has played such an important role in the total development of English Roses. For example, in order of their introduction,  it is one of the parents of :

William Shakespeare 1987 (along with The Squire);

LD Braithwaite 1988 (also with The Squire);

Sharifa Asma 1989  (with Admired Miranda);

Kathryn Morley 1990 ( a cross with Chaucer) ;

Peach Blossom 1990 (with The Prioress);

Sir Edward Elgar 1992 ( another Mary Rose-The Squire cross again);  and

Glamis Castle  1992 (from a cross with Graham Thomas).

Mary Rose has also produced two sports: the  softer pink Redouté 1992 and the white Winchester Cathedral 1998.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWindrush 1984  A cross between a seedling and (Canterbury x Golden Wings, a Hybrid Spinosissima– see photo above) and named after a river in Southern England, this medium shrub bears large, semi-double, soft yellow, wide open flowers with a boss of stamens and a light spicy Musk fragrance. It occasionally repeats later in the season. Here is a photo from Ruston’s Roses in Renmark:

BlogEngRosesReszd2014-10-25 09.55.10

Wildflower 1986 A cross between Lilian Austin and (Cantebury x Golden Wings), this light yellow single rose has 5 petals and a mild fragrance and occasionally repeats later in the season.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGertrude Jekyll 1986 A cross between Wife of Bath and Portland, Comte de Chambord, this large, upright shrub bears warm, deep pink Hybrid Tea-like buds, which open into large heavy rosettes, with petals spiralling from the centre and a powerful Old Rose fragrance, only equalled by Evelyn. Named after the English garden designer and author, Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), its foliage and growth are close to that of  Portlands and it forms quite a good climber.BlogEngRosesReszd20%IMG_9450LD Braithwaite 1988 A cross between  Mary Rose x The Squire, which was a cross between The Knight x Château de Clos Vougeot, this low spreading shrub has dark red, slightly cupped, loosely formed flowers, which are slow to fade and which develop a Old Rose fragrance as they open out wide and flat.BlogEngRosesReszd20%IMG_2280 It was named for David Austin’s father-in-law, Leonard Braithwaite, and is growing opposite Fair Bianca in our Soho Bed.BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-12 13.49.19Eglantyne 1994 A cross between Mary Rose and a seedling, this medium, upright shrub bears perfect, soft pink rosette blooms with a button eye and a lovely sweet Old Rose fragrance. It was named after Eglantyne Jebb, a lady from Ellesmere, Shropshire, who founded the Save the Children Fund after the First World War.  It grows on the other side of LD Braithwaite, diagonal to Fair Bianca, in the Soho Bed.BlogEngRosesReszd20%IMG_0428Jude the Obscure 1995 One of only two yellows in the group, it is a cross between Abraham Darby and Windrush. Named after the character in Thomas Hardy’s novel, it is one of my favourite English Roses for its tall, vigorous and healthy growth and its deeply cupped, incurved golden cups with their wonderful fruity scent, which David Austin describes as ‘reminiscent of guava and sweet wine’ and which  I could soak up forever!BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-18 12.03.10 Fortunately, I planted it on the bottom corner of the Moon Bed, where I will still be able to bury my nose in her blooms, even when the citrus behind are fully grown.BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-22 17.03.14Windermere Before 2005 A cross between two unspecified seedlings, this lovely rose has clusters of white medium blooms with an Old Rose form and a fruity citrus fragrance. It grows in the front of the Moon Bed next to Jude the Obscure.

2.Leander Group:

A cross between Old Rose hybrids and modern roses, with R. wichuraiana in their makeup, they lean more toward the modern rose, but still have the typical Old Rose form.

Large healthy robust shrubs with elegant arching growth.

Large yellow, apricot and flame-coloured flowers, varying from a rosette to deeply cupped shape.

Fragrance of Old Rose, Tea Rose, myrrh and fruity undertones of raspberry, lemon and apple.

Charles Austin 1973 named for David Austin’s father, this strong upright shrub with shiny modern foliage is a  cross between Chaucer and Aloha. It has very large, apricot-yellow rosette blooms with a fruity fragrance, which fade with age. While not continuously repeating, it has a second flush in Autumn. For a photo, see: https://www.helpmefind.com/rose/pl.php?n=1071 .

Leander 1982 A tough reliable rose, named after the legendary Greek lover, it was produced by a cross between Charles Austin and a seedling and has small sprays of deep apricot small to medium rosettes with a raspberry scent in the Tea Rose tradition.BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-17 08.44.01 My rose, planted in front of the shed, grew from a cutting I took from a shrub in a friend’s garden. Here is a photo of older blooms.BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-17 16.57.05Troilus 1983 I first saw this rose in 2014 in Renmark, the perfect climate for it as it thrives in the warmth, though it is still doing very well in the front of the Moon Bed between Windermere and Heritage.BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-04 12.26.25 I love its large clusters of creamy apricot fully cupped blooms. Its seed parent is a cross between Gallica Hybrid, Duchesse de Montebello, and Chaucer, while its pollen parent is Charles Austin.BlogEngRosesReszd20%IMG_0378Abraham Darby 1985 A cross between Floribunda, Yellow Cushion, and Aloha, a modern climber. A large bush with long arching growth and large glossy leaves. Large deeply cupped Old Rose blooms, with soft peachy pink petals on the inside and pale yellow on the outside, fading in colour towards the edge of the flower as it ages, and a rich fruity fragrance with a raspberry  sharpness. This rose has played an important part in the development of the Leander Group and is named after Abraham Darby (1678-1717), one of the founders of the Industrial Revolution, which began in Shropshire. For a photo, see: https://hedgerowrose.com/rose-gardening/2011/06/11/growing-david-austins-abraham-darby-rose/.

Charles Darwin 1991 A cross between two unnamed seedlings and named after the legendary British naturalist and father of the Theory of Evolution, Charles Darwin, this rose has some of the largest blooms of the English Roses. Full and deeply cupped at first, the mustard yellow blooms open to shallower flowers with a button eye. They have a strong fragrance, which is a blend of the scents of a soft floral tea rose and pure lemon. The shrub has broad, vigorous, spreading growth and is highly disease-resistant.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGolden Celebration 1992 One of the largest flowers of the English Roses, this large shrub with long arching branches is a cross between Charles Austin and Abraham Darby.BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-01 13.27.29 I am growing it at the back of the Moon Bed next to Lucetta, and love its large deeply cupped golden blooms, which  have a strong Tea scent at first, developing fruity undertones of Sauternes wine and strawberry as it ages.BlogEngRosesReszd2016-10-29 17.09.28William Morris 1998  Named after the father of the Arts and Crafts movement, William Morris (1834-1896), to commemorate the centenary of the founding of the University of East London, this tall shrub with long arching canes and glossy foliage is a cross between Abraham Darby and a seedling.BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-06 13.06.43 My rose is very healthy and vigorous and constantly in flower with clusters of apricot pink rosettes with a strong fragrance.BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-17 09.52.05 Growing in the front of the Moon Bed, I am in two minds about whether I should have grown it at the back of the bed due to its height, but its long graceful canes, covered in pink blooms look equally beautiful falling romantically over the front edge of the bed, even though my lawnmower curses me every time!BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-17 09.52.09The Alnwick Rose 2001 Named  for the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, who created a very large rose garden with many English Roses  at Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, it is a cross between a seedling and Golden Celebration.BlogEngRosesReszd2016-10-29 09.26.51 I love the blooms of this rose: medium-sized, deeply cupped and incurved, pink flowers, with an Old Rose fragrance with a hint of raspberry. This is my final English Rose in the Soho Bed.BlogEngRosesReszd2016-10-29 17.08.08Jubilee Celebration 2002 Named in honour of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, this large vigorous shrub, a cross between  AUSgold  (the registration name of Golden Celebration) and a seedling, bears sprays of large domed rich salmon pink blooms, tinted with gold under the petals, with a lovely fruity rose scent with undertones of lemon and raspberry. For a phot, see: https://www.gardenia.net/plant/rose-jubilee-celebration-aushunter.

Summer Song 2005 A bushy upright shrub, bred from a cross between two unspecified seedlings, it has sprays of small burnt orange cupped blooms with a fragrance of ‘chrysanthemum leaves, ripe banana and tea’, according to David Austin. I used to love using these bright blooms in the exotic Moroccan Mix, which we used to assemble at Soho. For a photo, see: http://www.davidaustinroses.com/eu/summer-song.

3.English Musk Group:

A cross between Old Rose hybrids and Noisettes and the newer Hybrid Musks, to which the Floribunda, Iceberg, is related, being a cross between Hybrid Musk, Robin Hood, and Hybrid Tea, Virgo.

Lighter growth and flowering than the Old Rose Hybrid or Leander groups.

Dainty soft flowers in fresh and blush pink, soft yellow, apricot and peach.

Variety of fragrances.

Lucetta 1983  This strong healthy shrub, with long arching canes, has large, open and flat, semi-double, saucer-like, blush-pink fragrant blooms with a boss of gold stamens. Its parentage is unknown.BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-17 17.06.10 Growing next to Golden Celebration at the back of the Moon Bed, its blooms contrast beautifully with the Flowering Salvias, the  deep blue ‘Indigo Spires’ and a lighter blue salvia, grown from a cutting from my sister’s garden.BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-18 12.02.35Graham Thomas 1983 Given the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 1993 , the James Mason Award (Royal National Rose Society, UK) and the Henry Edland Medal for Fragrance (Royal National Rose Society Trials), both in 2000, and voted the world’s most favourite rose by 41 rose societies in 2009, this tall upright shrub was named for rosarian, Graham Stuart Thomas, and is a cross between Charles Austin x (Iceberg x seedling). For a close-up photo, see: http://www.davidaustinroses.com/eu/graham-thomas. It has medium deeply cupped golden yellow blooms, opening to cupped rosettes with a strong Tea Rose fragrance. I used to grow this rose in Armidale and would love to find a place for it here! Here is the climbing form at Ruston’s Roses.BlogEngRosesReszd2014-10-25 09.52.59

Heritage 1984 Another popular and beautiful deeply cupped, blush-pink rose with a fragrance, which has been described as having ‘overtones of fruit, honey and carnation on a myrrh background’. Like Graham Thomas, it is the progeny of a Seedling x Iceberg. Other sites state the parentage as: Seedling x (Iceberg x Wife of Bath). I have always grown this rose in all my gardens from my first married home to Armidale and now here in Candelo.BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-08 15.24.51Belle Story 1984 Named after one of the first nursing sisters to serve as a British Royal Navy officer in 1884, its seed parent is a cross between Chaucer and a Modern Climber, Parade, while its pollen parent is a cross between The Prioress and Iceberg.BlogEngRosesReszd50%Image (194)Sweet Juliet 1989  A cross between Graham Thomas and Admired Miranda, an English Rose, which itself has The Friar as both its seed and pollen parents and has been discontinued, this lovely rose has medium, shallow-cupped, apricot-yellow flowers with a strong Tea scent, which becomes lemony as the blooms mature. It was named for the heroine in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. For a photo, see: http://www.davidaustinroses.com/eu/sweet-juliet.

Evelyn 1991 A cross between Graham Thomas and Tamora, this lovely rose has large apricot and pink flowers with a shallow saucer-like form, whose petals gradually recurve to form a rosette shape. They have a beautiful Old Rose fragrance, one of the strongest of the English Roses, with the fruity notes of apricots and peaches. It was named on behalf of my favourite perfumers, Crabtree and Evelyn, and is a sister rose to Jayne Austin (Graham Thomas x Tamora) and Sweet Juliet, sharing some of the characteristics of both. Unfortunately, it is susceptible to disease, a reputation borne out by my own recent experience in the back of the Moon Bed! It was making a feeble attempt to recover, but unfortunately died, so I may try to replace it with Sweet Juliet, if I can find it or maybe, I should just move Leander to the Moon Bed, in case it was a case of Unlucky Number 13, there being 4 English Roses in the Soho Bed, 8 in the Moon Bed and one in the Shed Bed!BlogEngRosesReszd2016-11-08 10.34.12Comte(s) de Champagne 2001 A cross between a seedling and Tamora, this rose is one of the first English Roses to have open-centred cup-shaped blooms. Soft yellow buds open to perfect, open, medium to large, globular cups, with a honey and musk fragrance and a mop of deep yellow stamens. The lax spreading bushy shrub is healthy and free-flowering. It was named after Taittinger’s finest champagne. According to David Austin, the President of Taittinger, M. Claude Taittinger, lives in a chateau built by Thibault IV, Count of Chapagne and Brie, who is also credited with bringing the Apothecary’s Rose, R. gallica officinalis, from Damascus to France on his return from the 7th Crusade in 1250.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4. English Alba Rose Hybrids

The most recent varieties, a cross between Albas and other English Roses.

Almost wild light and airy growth and healthy foliage.

Light and dainty flowers in mainly shades of pink, though some are almost white and Benjamin Britten is scarlet.

They are the least fragrant of the English Roses, being a delicate mix of Old Rose, myrrh, musk and tea, without any particular scent predominating.

Shropshire Lass 1968 The foundation rose of this group, it is a cross between an early Hybrid Tea, Mme Butterfly, and an Alba, Mme Legras St Germaine. It is a large strong free-flowering shrub, though non-repeating, and has blush white almost single flowers with a large boss of stamens and a strong scent with hints of myrrh. I grew this rose in my larger Armidale garden. For a photo, see: http://www.davidaustinroses.com/eu/shropshire-lass-climbing-rose.

5. English Climbers:

Some of the larger English Roses perform well as small climbers, where they can reach 3 to 3.5 metres here in Australia. For example, Constance Spry; Shropshire Lass; Gertrude Jekyll; Graham Thomas; Leander and William Morris.

6. English Cut Flower Roses:

In 2004, David Austin unveiled hid plans for his current 15 year breeding program, which is directed towards producing English Roses for the cut flower industry. They are similar in their flower form (rosettes) to English Roses grown in the garden, but are bred to be grown under glass and are the result of crossing English Roses with cut flower varieties of Hybrid Teas.

They combine the blowsy  Old Rose forms, fragrance and romantic soft colors with the year-round availability, strong stems and the long vase life of modern cut roses and are ideal for gift bouquets, floral arrangements for the home and for all kinds of special occasions like weddings, birthdays and parties.

Unlike many of the Cut Flower Hybrid Teas, which have no fragrance, the English Cut Roses have a strong fragrance, but because of this, will last 2 or 3 days less in water than a typical Cut Hybrid Tea, the chemicals producing the scent also having the effect of hastening rose petal decay.

The initial seven varieties included four heavily perfumed roses: glowing clear pink Phoebe (originally called Olivia Austin), creamy-white Patience, deep pink Emily (synonym Cymbeline), and blush-pink Rosalind; and three lightly fragrant, exquisitely formed roses: peach-hued Juliet, rosy Miranda and raspberry-red Darcey.

His current Cut Rose Collection includes 14 exclusive varieties:  Patience, Juliet, Miranda, Darcey, Charity, Keira, Constance, Edith, Beatrice, Carey, Kate , Tess and new Cut English Roses, Purity and Capability. For photos of these roses, see: https://uk.davidaustin.com/the-collection/ , https://www.parfumflowercompany.com/david-austin-wedding-roses/   and http://www.alexandrafarms.com/David-Austin.html.

David Austin’s  Wedding and Gift  Rose Brochure is at : https://www.parfumflowercompany.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/David-Austin-Roses-Brochure.pdf.

For more information about David Austin and his beautiful English Roses, it is worth reading David Austin’s books:

David Austin’s English Roses Australian Edition 1993/ 1996;

The English Roses: Classic Favourites and New Selections 2007; and

The Rose 2009/ 2012.

Next week, I am focusing on our own Spring garden, but the following fortnight, will be looking at the work of other contemporary breeders of modern shrub roses and modern climbers, including Guillot, Delbard and Meilland in France; Kordes and Tantau in Germany;  Harkness and Joe Cocker in the UK and Swim and Weeks in the USA.

11 thoughts on “David Austin’s English Roses

    1. I would love to see the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden one day! It sounds fantastic, but I doubt that I will ever get over there, so it’s great to know there is a documentary about it for people like me! And you know what my next question is! Is your documentary accessible for public viewing? It too would be great to see one day! Jane PS Do you still make documentaries and are they all about gardening?

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      1. The documentary was a very long time ago when the Heritage Rose Garden was new. I doubt that it could be found anywhere now. Sadly, the garden is not maintained as it should be. It never was designed to be a ‘pretty’ garden like the Municipal Rose Garden was. It was designed more for the benefit and preservation of the roses. Therefore, it had no lawn or landscaping, only decomposed granite walkways and mulching. Some of the roses grew as thickets because that is how they were bred to grow. Yes, it was fascinating to those who know roses, but did not appeal to what most people expect to see in a rose garden. Now that it is in disrepair, it is rather sad to see. The rosarian who designed it put so much work into preserving the old world roses. I really hope that it gets restored someday.

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      2. I do too! I had a quick look at some of the videos of the heritage and municipal rose gardens. There is a big difference between repositories and pleasure gardens, and it would have been good to see some of the old roses planted naturally as part of the landscape, but at least the old roses are being preserved and hopefully, there will be a resurgence in interest!

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      3. You know, I have no favorite. The Heritage Rose Garden is so interesting, and happens to be in the same areas as the Heritage Orchard (our ‘tree museum’). It is the sort of place where you would be tempted to ‘borrow’ cuttings of historical roses. It may not look like much to someone who is not horticulturally inclined, but it is fascinating to someone who knows roses. Yet, I grew up with the modern roses in the Municipal Rose Garden, which are grown in beds of very pretty, but otherwise boring uniform roses, mostly hybrid teas. (I happen to really like hybrid tea roses.)

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      4. Yes, I find the history of the development of roses constantly fascinating! Amazing that such a wide variety of colour, scent and forms has developed from the breeding and interbreeding of the original species roses. It is wonderful being able to see them all grown side by side and to be able to compare them. The Heritage Orchard would also be a great place to visit. I’m sure the odd fruit gets borrowed as well!

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      5. The fruit is not odd. It is quite simple. It represents the fruit that grew in the formerly vast orchards of the Santa Clara Valley. Apricots are my favorites because they are what I remember most. They also have prune, a few plum, cherry, almond, walnut, peach, fig a few apple, and a few pear.

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      6. Sorry! I meant ‘odd’ in the sense of ‘occasional’ rather than ‘strange’. It all sounds wonderful and I’m sure the heritage varieties are so much tastier than our modern varieties! It’s so hard to find a good, firm, flavoursome apricot these days, unless you have your own tree.

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      7. There is no need to be sorry. I mean that the fruit is ‘common’. Some of the modern varieties are comparable, like you say, if you get them off of the tree. Much of what grew here was for drying, so was not as good as it would have been fresh. However, those of us who live here got plenty of it fresh!

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      8. I do not make documentaries presently. I have been out of commission for a few years. I only write my gardening column. I hope to get my community radio show back in January. I used to do the gardening report for KSCO in Santa Cruz, which was a blast!

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      9. I imagine it was! You’d have had fun! Gardeners are such interesting people and so in touch with their natural surroundings, weather and climate etc. It’s a lovely area, in which to be involved. Happy gardening and hopefully broadcasting!

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