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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

Alister Clark: Australian Rose Breeder

Alister Clark was one of Australia’s most famous and prolific rose breeders, producing many very well-known and popular roses, well-suited to Australia’s hot dry climate, so I am devoting three posts to him this week: his life (today), Alister Clark Memorial Garden at Bulla (Wednesday), and a few notes about the specific roses he bred (Thursday). Below is a photograph of one of his most famous and popular roses, Lorraine Lee 1924.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 14.56.10Alister Clark was born in 1864 to Walter and Annie Clark of Glenara, Bulla. Walter Clark (1803-1873) was a Scottish immigrant from Argyllshire, who arrived in Australia in 1838, started in the Riverine area of NSW, where he made money out of stock during the gold rush, overlanded stock to Melbourne and then in 1857, he bought 485 acres at Deep Creek, Bulla, where he built a large single storey Italianate house of brick and rendered stone (granite and bluestone), with a hipped slate roof and encircling verandah with open work timber posts and lintels, on an elevated site above Deep Creek Gorge, which he called  ‘Glenara’. See the bottom of this post for more about ‘Glenara’.

The Melbourne architects, Albert Purchas and Charles Swyer, also designed the garden around the house, including a terrace with stone steps, urns and a sundial to the west and an extensive network of paths cut into the rocky outcrops to the south. In 1872, Walter built a rustic wooden bridge across the creek to a romantic stone folly, a bluestone lookout tower, on the opposite hill. He also established a vineyard, being one of the first landowners to grow grapes in the Sunbury region and gradually expanded the property to 4079 acres by his death in 1873 . He was President of the Shire of Bulla, now part of the City of Hume, from 1866 to 1871. Below is Nancy Hayward 1937, an equally famous Alister Clark rose, which is never out of flower.bloghxroses20reszd2014-10-19-13-17-23Alister’s mother, Annie, died when Alister was 1 year old and his father 8 years later, so Alister and his older siblings, brother Walter and 3 sisters, Annie, Jessie and Aggie, were raised by relatives. Alister was educated in Hobart, at Sydney Grammar School (1877-1878) and at the Loretto School in Scotland. He studied Law at Cambridge University (1883-1885), but never practiced, though he was a Justice of Peace. On the boat home to Australia after his graduation, he met Edith (Edie) Rhodes, daughter of wealthy New Zealander, Robert Heaton Rhodes, and married her in Christchurch, New Zealand, on the 7 July 1888. Alister bought the Glenara homestead block (830 acres) from his father’s estate in 1892 and by his death, the property was 1035 acres.

Alsiter and Edie never had any children and lived most of their life at Glenara, where Alister bred roses, daffodils and nerines and pursued his other passions like playing polo, billiards and golf, being a founding member of the Royal Melbourne Golf Club. He frequently visited his good friend, Albert Nash, to play golf on his private golf course in Cranbourne. He added a billiard room to the eastern end of the homestead in 1895. Alister also loved his horses, keeping steeplechasers, draughthorses and ponies at Glenara. He was Master of the local Oaklands Hunt Club and Founding Chairman of the Moonee Pond Racing Club in 1917. The Alister Clark Stakes, named in his honour, are still run at the Autumn race meet at Moonee Ponds every year. Like his father, he was President of the Shire of Bulla in 1896, 1902 and 1908. The rose below is Squatter’s Dream 1923 , named after a racehorse.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.13.21Alister was involved in the breeding of a number of new species of daffodils, his best known being Mabel Taylor, which is still grown and used in breeding today and which Alister believed was the first pink daffodil in Australia.  In 1948, he was awarded the Peter Burr Memorial Cup from the Royal Horticultural Society in England, but it was roses for which he became famous!BlogTeasReszd2014-10-19 13.24.37blogadelaidebgreszd20img_9334Alister Clark was one of Australia’s most famous and prolific rose breeders. He bred over 122 (some sources say 138) varieties from 1912 to 1949, using a huge species rose from Burma and the Himalayas, Rosa gigantea (photos above), to create roses specifically suited to Australia’s hot dry climate, one of the first rose breeders to do so on both counts (ie the use of R. gigantea in breeding, as it does not thrive in the cooler climates of Europe, where many of the rose breeders hailed from at that time; and the breeding of roses ideally suited for Australian conditions). They were the most widely planted roses in Australia in the period between the two world wars. See : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Alister_Clark_roses for a list of Alister Clark roses. Another useful site with photographs is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alister_Clark_Memorial_Rose_Garden.

He bred his roses with a number of specific aims in mind…

Firstly, he wanted to produce the first rose to flower all year round. His first generation crosses of R. gigantea were Spring blooming only eg Jessie Clark; Courier; Golden Vision and Tonner’s Fancy; However, he  achieved his aim with second- generation crosses, Lorraine Lee and Nancy Hayward, both bred from Jessie Clark. A bunch of Lorraine Lee (photo below) was shown at every meeting of the National Rose Society for 20 consecutive months.BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_9113

He also aimed for roses, which performed well in ordinary gardens, rather than show roses, so his roses were very popular with the general public in Australia. An Argus poll in 1937 of 230 varieties of garden roses and 99 different climbing rose types resulted in Lorraine Lee being voted the most popular garden rose, while another of his roses, Black Boy, polled as the most popular climbing rose. While Lorraine Lee, Black Boy and Nancy Hayward (photo below at Werribee Park) are considered to be some of his most successful roses, Alister believed that Sunny South and Gwen Nash were some of his best roses.

blogvsrg20reszd2014-10-19-13-55-27

He wanted to breed tough roses, which did not require pampering or coddling and he did not believe in using chemical sprays and fertilisers, preferring to encourage birds for aphid control. Our little Eastern Spinebill is an excellent rose guardian!BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-06 14.13.19Alister named his roses after horses, people and places. His first rose, Hybrid Tea, Lady Medallist 1912, was named after a successful racehorse, as was Squatter’s Dream 1923, Tonner’s Fancy 1928, Flying Colours 1922 and Courier 1930, while many of his roses bred the name of family friends, especially women, like climbing rose Gwen Nash 1920 and bush roses Peggy Bell 1929; Mary Guthrie 1929; Marjorie Palmer 1929; Countess of Stradbroke 1928 (the wife of the 3rd Earl of Stradbroke, who was the Governor of Victoria from  1920 to 1926) and Cicely Lascelles 1937 (photo below). He named Amy Johnson 1931 after the famous English pilot, who was the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia, to commemorate her landing and Edith Clark 1928 after his wife, who was also the Patroness of the Victorian Rose Society.

I will be writing about specific Alister Clark Roses on Thursday, but for more on the naming of his roses, read: ‘The Women Behind the Roses: An Introduction to Alister Clark’s Rose-Namesakes 1915 – 1952’ , written in 2010  by Andrew and Tilly Govanstone. It is also well worth reading ‘Man of Roses: Alister Clark of Glenara and His Family’ 1990  by Tommy R. Garnett and Susan Irvine’s Rose Gardens: Garden of a Thousand Roses with A Hillside of Roses by Susan Irvine 1992  for more information on this amazing rosarian, as well as an illustrated list of his roses.BlogAlisterClarkReszd20%IMG_9470Being a gentleman of private means with a philanthropic nature, Alister never bred or grew roses commercially, preferring to donate them to rose societies and charities for their fundraising efforts, as well as giving them as gifts to the people, after whom he had named his varieties. For example, Jessie Clark (photo below) was donated to the National Rose Society of Victoria to contribute to prize money at rose shows.BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.15.58Alister Clark was the founding President of the National Rose Society of Victoria in 1889. He was highly regarded in the USA and was awarded a Honorary Life Membership of the American Rose Society in 1931 and elected as Vice-President of the Royal Horticultural Society of London from 1944 – 1948. In 1936, he was awarded the Dean Hole Medal from the National Rose Society in London, the highest honour in the rose world. Here is a photo of gold rose: Baxter Beauty 1924, not strictly bred by Alister Clark, but a sport of Lorraine Lee :bloghxroses20reszdimg_4796Alister died in 1949 and after his death, interest in his roses waned with the renewed availability and popularity of roses from Europe and America after the end of the Second World War. Also, they are large roses for large gardens and most bloom only in the Spring, so are unsuitable for gardens with limited space. While Black Boy, Nancy Hayward and Lorraine Lee remained constantly in nurserymans’ catalogues, many Alister Clark roses were lost during this period.

Interest in Alister Clark roses was revived in the 1980s, especially through the efforts of nurseryman, John Nieuwesteeg, and roselover, Susan Irvine, who grew many of them at her various gardens at Bleak House and Erinvale, Victoria and Forest Hall, Tasmania, about which she has written, the former two gardens faeatured in her book photographed below. It is also worth reading the interview with John Nieuwesteeg: http://gpcaa.typepad.com/settings/2011/02/alister-clark-roses.html  for more information about the search for Alister Clark roses and the establishment of the GPCAA’s Alister Clark Collection.blogrosebooks30reszdimage-233

Alister Clark roses are now grown in the Rex Hazlewood Rose Garden at the Old Government House in Canberra (26 Alister Clark roses); at the Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden in the St. Kilda Botanic Gardens on Blessington St, St. Kilda (5 unlabelled Clark roses including Black Boy and Lorraine Lee. See: http://www.melbourneplaces.com/melbourne/alister-clark-rose-garden-%E2%80%93-botanical-gardens-st-kilda/) ; the Alister Clark Memorial Garden at Moonee Valley Racecourse; the John Nieuwesteeg Heritage Rose Garden at Maddingley Park, Bacchus Marsh; and the Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden at Bulla.  Ruston’s National Rose Collection contains nearly all Alister Clark’s climbers, while State Rose Garden of Victoria at Werribee Park has a large collection of Alister Clark roses, especially the Gigantea climbers. The Geelong Botanic Garden grows Borderer; Lady Huntingfield; Mrs Fred Danks; Squatter’s Dream and Mrs Maud Alston, and the rose maze at Kodja Place, Kojonup, Western Australia has a hedge of Australian bred roses, including 32 Alister Clark roses.

Private gardens featuring Alister Clark roses include Richmond Hill and Forest Hall, Tasmania; and Carrick Hill, South Australia. They are also grown in some of the world’s greatest rose gardens like Bagatelle in Paris and Sangerhausen in Germany. Here is another photo of Nancy Hayward 1937 at Werribee Park.

BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 13.55.38

And finally, a few notes about Alister’s family home, ‘Glenara’.

Glenara

10 Glenara Drive, Bulla, Hume City

Once the mecca of rose lovers all over Australia and home to famous rose breeder, Alister Clark, the 25 acre garden was started by his father Walter and ran right down to Deep Creek. The garden was designed by Charles Swyer and included fruit trees and a specialised collection of conifers and unusual Australian natives. The property was painted by Eugene von Guerhard in 1867, the painting now held in the National Gallery of Victoria.

When Alister owned Glenara, the garden was an informal garden, with drifts of daffodils carpeting the hillside opposite the house and roses planted informally through the garden. He employed up to 8 gardeners. After Alister’s death, it fell into disrepair with blackberry, smilax, kangaroos, possums and rabbits overtaking the garden.

The old house is now classified by the National Trust and listed on the Historic Buildings Register. See : http://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/177.

The verandah is festooned with blue wisteria and the yellow Banksia rose R. banksiae lutea, with China rose, Cramoisi Superieur, in the front bed. At the start of her quest, Susan Irvine visited owner Ruth Rendle at Glenara, where she was entranced with the wild and woolly garden, overgrown with periwinkle, smilax, agapanthus, long grass, wild daffodils and sweet peas and huge mounds of surviving roses including Jessie Clark; Milkmaid; Traverser; and Tonner’s Fancy. She took cuttings from 64 different bushes, but unfortunately, there were no labels, garden plans or records. A good proportion of them struck, though many of the climbers did not, those bred from R. gigantea stock being notoriously difficult propagate. Tonner’s Fancy 1928, photographed below, still flourishes at Glenara.

BlogAlisterClarkReszd2014-10-19 15.12.59

Tomorrow, I will be writing about the Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden at Bulla, one of my favourite rose gardens in Victoria!

Fabulous Rose Books

Since roses, and particularly Old Roses, are the major focus of my blog this year, I thought it would be useful to discuss a few of my favourite rose books, as a start to my monthly posts on books this year, as well as to provide a reference point and future reading material for those readers, who share my passion or whose interest is piqued! Note: The name Old Roses refer to Heritage or Old-Fashioned  Roses, mostly hailing from the pre-1900s, rather than chronologically old or new bushes!   First up,

 ‘Classic Roses’ by Peter Beales 1985 and 1997

This thick heavy book is THE Old Rose bible and if you can only ever get one rose book, this is it! I could not manage without it! In fact, I actually have two copies: My much-battered original 1st edition hardback from 1985 (photo 1) and an updated, revised and enlarged 2nd edition paperback (photo 2) given to me by my Mum, from whom I inherited my passion for roses (passing it on in turn to my daughter Caro!) in 1997. The first edition includes chapters titled: the History and Evolution of the Rose; Roses in the Landscape; the Cultivation of Roses and a detailed Dictionary of all the major rose cultivar groups and their members; as well as having an appendix of all the major rose gardens in the world at that time.blogrosebooks25reszdimage-208

The 2nd edition is very similar in content, but includes different photographs, more roses including ground-cover or procumbent roses and extra information. For example: the Early Development of the Modern Rose; the Mystery Roses of Bermuda; and Rustling Roses, as well as a World Climatic Map, Height and Colour Charts and lists of Rose Societies and Rose Producers and Suppliers throughout the world in the back.blogrosebooks30reszdimage-218

I consult these books constantly when planning new rose gardens or ordering new roses, though do be aware that Peter’s height and width specifications are for the cooler British and Northern European climate. I find my roses are often much taller and wider here in sunny warm Australia. For example, Mutabilis, my ‘butterfly’ China rose is specified in Peter’s book as 90 cm tall and 60cm wide, whereas I have seen huge shrubs of it here in Australia. Walter Duncan has a bush at least 2 m tall and 2 m wide in his Heritage Garden (photo below).blogrosebooks20reszdimg_9737blogrosebooks20reszdimg_9512 Having said that, Peter Beales (1936 – 2013) was, and still is (through his books), THE  Old Rose authority in the United Kingdom, having grown them from the age of 16 years. He has a wonderful nursery in Attleborough, Norfolk and has been awarded 23 Gold Medals by the RHS Chelsea Flower Show from 1989 to 2016. See: https://www.classicroses.co.uk/ . Even if you (like me!) cannot visit the nursery, it is well worth exploring this site for its wealth of information on roses and their cultivation. I would have loved to wander round his beautiful, romantic display gardens, but I do have a delightful old VHS video produced by Peter Beales called ‘A Celebration of Old Roses’ , set to the dreamy music of Elgar. While no longer available, the Peter Beales website does sell a DVD called ‘Growing Roses with Peter Beales’, which is out of stock at the moment.blogrosebooks50reszdimage-232 Peter also wrote a lovely large coffee-table book titled ‘Visions of Roses 1996, which explores a large number of exquisite rose gardens in the world, including La Bonne Maison in France; Helmingham Hall and Nymans in England; and Ninfa in Italy (see photos below of its front and back cover). The photography by Vivian Russell is superb and there are boxed descriptions of specific roses. It is a beautiful inspiring book with some wonderful ideas and of course, stunning roses! I would dearly love to purchase his autobiography, ‘Rose Petals and Muddy Footprints’, published in 2008.blogrosebooks25reszdimage-219blogrosebooks25reszdimage-222

David Austin is the other BIG name in roses in the United Kingdom and is possibly even better known to the general public than Peter Beales through his breeding of English Roses, beautiful constantly- flowering roses with all the best attributes of Old Roses. Fortunately, he is still with us, now the ripe old age of 90 (born 1926)! He too has his own nursery on the other side of the country at Albrighton, Wolverhampton in Shropshire, and has won 22 Gold Medals from the Chelsea Flower Show. See: http://www.davidaustinroses.co.uk/. I have two of his books :

David Austin’s English Roses: Australian Edition 1996 by David Austin

The English Roses: Classic Favourites and New Selections 2009 by David Austin.

I love these books for their photography alone, as well as background information about the different varieties. blogrosebooks25reszdimage-209

They are such beautiful roses and form the basis of my Moon Bed. I would love to visit his display gardens one day, but in the meantime can enjoy a taster through his wonderful photographs in the 2009 book !blogrosebooks25reszdimage-216

Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix are also very well-known authorities on all things to do with the garden. In fact, they have produced a wonderfully informative series of books on garden plants from shrubs to perennials and bulbs and … roses!

Roses: The Garden Plant Series by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix 1994

The Quest for the Rose by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix 1993

A more compact rose encyclopaedia than Classic Roses, the Rose guide contains colour photographs of the cut flowers, as well as rose shrubs and their landscapes. I also find this book useful, as it has a large section on the more modern roses : Hybrid Teas, Floribundas and Miniature Roses.blogrosebooks25reszdimage-213

The Quest for the Rose is a BBC book, which was made into a film, about their research into the history and origins of the rose, including their journey to the foothills of the Himalayas in Western China to find wild relations of China and Tea roses. It also has interesting snippets about all the important rose breeders, an area about which my knowledge is fairly sketchy!blogrosebooks25reszdimage-217

The other rose encyclopaedia, which I should, but do not have in my rose library is : the RHS Encyclopedia of Roses by Charles and Brigid Quest-Ritson 2011, described as: ‘the definitive A-Z guide to over 2,000 species’. For a look at the cover, see : https://www.dk.com/uk/9781405373852-rhs-encyclopedia-of-roses/. I have borrowed this book from the library, but as the number of new rose breeds increases exponentially every year, I suspect this five year old publication is already outdated and since my major interest is Old Roses, I feel I have it adequately covered by the books that I already have!  Maybe, I will access the online version, found at : http://www.b-alexander.com/encyclopedia-of-roses.pdf.

My next book hails from across the English Channel in Lyon, France :

La Bonne Maison: Jardin de Roses Anciennes by Odile Masquelier 2001

La Bonne Maison is a beautiful old rose garden, developed by Odile Masquelier, a French authority on heritage roses , over the past 50 years. As she recounts in her book, she spent the first six years of her life toddling after her mother in this old orchard and vegetable garden high on a Lyons hillside, before rediscovering it and buying the old property in 1966 as the mother of two young children.  Over the years, the city has expanded and it is now a residential area, dwarfed by a huge block of flats behind.blogrosebooks25reszdp1190564 While it is highly unlikely, I will get to visit her garden in the physical sense, my daughter Jen acted as my proxy on her first European trip in the Spring of 2012.blogrosebooks25reszdp1190543 Unfortunately, it was a little too early for the roses, but she did get to see some beautiful Spring blossom and bulbs (mainly tulips, narcissi and early peonies) and the bones of the garden, as well as meet the charming Odile with her 13 year old grand-daughter, who did speak English and gave Jen a guided tour of the garden.blogrosebooks25reszdp1190593 She bought me her book as a much-desired and hinted-for birthday present. Unfortunately, unless you are fluent in French or can get it translated, this beautiful book is for French readers only! I spent a wonderful week translating it all and it was well worth the effort! Fortunately, Odile does have a website with an English version. See: http://www.labonnemaison.org/  and click on the English Version link.blogrosebooks25reszdimage-223

This wonderful garden is also described in The Secret Gardens of France by Mirabel Osler 1992, along with a chapter dedicated to the rose garden of Andre Eve, a very prominent French rose breeder in Pithiviers, SW of Paris, famous for ‘Les Roses Anciennes de Andre Eve’. See French website: http://www.roses-anciennes-eve.com/epages/rosesanciennes.sf .blogrosebooks30reszdimage-235

While on the subject of French rose writers, Eléonore Cruse has a beautiful wild rose garden called ‘La Roseraie de Berty’ in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Southern France, and has  written a number of books including: Roses Anciennes and Les Roses Sauvages. For information about these books and Eleanor’s garden,  see : http://www.roseraie-de-berty.com.

And now to a number of books by Australian collector, Susan Irvine, who used to own Bleak House, a Victorian nursery from which I sourced many of my old roses in our old garden at ‘Creekside’ in Armidale.

Garden of a Thousand Roses: Making a Rose Garden in Australia 1992

A Hillside of Roses 1994

Susan Irvine’s Rose Gardens : Garden of a Thousand Roses with A Hillside of Roses 1998

Fragrant Roses 1996

Rose Gardens of Australia 1997

The Garden at Forest Hall 2002

Rosehips and Crabapples: A Rose-Lover’s Diary 2007

These are all delightful books, in which Susan writes about her long-term love affair with roses! The first book describes the garden she developed at Bleak House, Malmsbury, Victoria, while its sequel  ‘A Hillside of Roses’ follows the formation of her second garden at ‘Erinvale’, Gisborne, Victoria, which also housed her collection of Alister Clark roses (photos and description in the appendix).blogrosebooks30reszdimage-227

In 1998, both titles were published in the one book: ‘Susan Irvine’s Rose Gardens : Garden of a Thousand Roses with A Hillside of Roses ‘.blogrosebooks30reszdimage-233

In ‘Fragrant Roses’, Susan discusses 62 of her favourite roses (including modern roses), many of which I also love. It is always interesting comparing notes about favourite roses with other rose lovers and wonderful when you meet people with a similar taste and selection of favourites!*blogrosebooks50reszdimage-225‘Rose Gardens of Australia’ is a particular favourite, as it has formed the basis of many of our Australian pilgrimages like David Ruston’s Garden in Renmark; Red Cow Farm in the Southern Highlands (https://candeloblooms.com/2016/12/20/a-garden-weekend-in-the-southern-highlands-part-1/); Carrick Hill and Heide (https://candeloblooms.com/2016/02/09/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-historic-homes-and-gardens/) ; and Bolobek and Cruden Farm (https://candeloblooms.com/2016/08/02/part-2-favourite-private-gardens-historic-gardens-part-2/), as well as Walter Duncan’s Hughes Park, though by the time we visited him, he was living in his new garden at the Heritage Garden, near Clare. We still have plenty more places in the book to visit like Ruth Irving’s Al-Ru Farm at One Tree Hill in South Australia and Heather Cant’s florist garden at Gowan Brae, near Bowral, NSW !  All in all, it is a lovely browsy coffee-table book like Peter Beales’ ‘Visions of Roses’. There is even a Select List of Roses for Australian Gardens  with landscaping suggestions, descriptions and comments for each rose in the back.blogrosebooks20reszdimage-229

By the time Susan wrote ‘The Garden at Forest Hall ‘ (1996), she had moved to a beautiful old derelict Georgian sandstone mansion at Elizabeth Town, near Deloraine, Northern Tasmania, where she restored the house and revived the neglected  garden, the experience documented in her diaries from 2003 to 2005, the basis of her book ‘Rosehips and Crabapples’. She collaborated with photographer Simon Griffiths for her last three books and his photographs are superb.blogrosebooks30reszdimage-228 In 1994,  Susan received the Australian Rose Award from the National Rose Society of Australia and in 2001, became a Life Member of Heritage Roses Australia. She even had a rose named after her in 1996 : the Hybrid Gigantea rose called ‘Susan Irvine‘, which is very fitting given that she has had so much to do with the collection and conservation of Alister Clark roses, many of which involved R. gigantea in their parentage. While it is unlikely any more books will be forthcoming (Susan is in her late 80s), she has certainly left a legacy of beauty in both her gardens and her writings. I particularly loved the antique-looking thick paper and presentation of her final diary.blogrosebooks30reszdimage-226*With reference to the preferences of different rose lovers, especially when it comes to favourite roses, I really enjoyed reading Roses: A Celebration by Wayne Winterwood 2003, in which  34 gardeners and rose lovers write about their favourite rose. Contributors include: Peter Beales, Graham Stuart Thomas, David Austin, Christopher Lloyd, Mirabel Osler, Ken Druse and Dan Hinkley.blogrosebooks30reszdimage-211

Growing Old-Fashioned Roses in Australia and New Zealand by Trevor Nottle 1983

This was one of my first rose books- in fact, it was published the year we were married (so it’s a very old book now!), but it did the job and was very well-thumbed at the start of the increased popularity of Old Roses in the 1980s, before all the luscious rose books came into print.

blogrosebooks30reszdimage-210

Trevor Nottle is a South Australian rosarian, garden historian and heritage consultant, who has written 17 gardening books, many about old roses and Mediterranean and dry-climate gardening, including another book we own : ‘Plants for a Changing Climate’. See his blog at : https://trevornottle.wordpress.com/.blogrosebooks25reszdimage-234

Two more definitive influences in the development of my rose passion and knowledge were : Gardening with Old Roses: An Australasian Guide by Alan Sinclair and Rosemary Thodey  1993   and  Climbing and Rambling Roses: A Guide for Cultivation, Selection and Care by Sally Allison 1993.

The authors of both books hail from New Zealand, a country well-known for its beautiful rose gardens. Alan Sinclair has a huge private rose garden and nursery ‘Roseneath’ , north of Auckland in the North Island, while Sally Allison has been  a past President of Heritage Roses NZ and has a 10 acre country garden Lyddington, near Rangiora, 27 km north of Christchurch on the South Island. Alan’s book is a very useful reference on landscaping with Old Roses, as well as their care and history and has lovely photographs by Rosemary Thodey.blogrosebooks30reszdimage-205 Sally’s book is an excellent guide to climbing roses and ramblers with good notes on their history, cultivation and care, and support and display, and has a terrific dictionary, backed up with her photos, as well as a list of rose gardens to visit in New Zealand.blogrosebooks30reszdimage-204Another early guide (and somewhat soiled copy!) was The Book of Old-Fashioned Roses by Dr. Judyth A. McLeod 1984, a very simple  publication, which relies solely on its written descriptions to entice the reader and is more like a catalogue than an illustrated guide. Judyth is a passionate garden historian, who has written a number of books on Old Roses, lavender and heirloom and cottage garden plants and also had a nursery at Grosevale, in the Lower Blue Mountains, near Richmond called Honeysuckle Cottage, from which we bought some of our old Armidale roses, unavailable through Bleak House, back in the 1990s. Unfortunately, the nursery has now closed, but you can see a video clip about the nursery from 2012 at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQm1rlhG_Hk.blogrosebooks25reszdimage-214

Through the Rose Arbour: Notes From a Gardening Life 2001 by Rosemary Houseman is a delightful little book, into which to delve headlong, her prose rambling amongst stunning photos, which document her journey into the world of Old Roses. She started her own nursery The Rose Arbour in Melbourne, Victoria in 1982.blogrosebooks50reszdimage-212An even tinier rose guide is the pocket-sized  A Little Guide to Old Roses by Hazel le Rougetel 1992. It is a sweet little book with hand-coloured illustrations of 28 iconic and favourite Old Roses. Hazel le Rougetel (1917 – 2010) wrote and lectured about old roses and was a founding member of the Historic Roses Group. Ros Wallinger wrote a piece about Hazel’s life on Page 4 of the Spring/ Summer No. 4 Newsletter for the Hampshire Garden Trust. See: http://www.hgt.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Spring-Summer-newsletter.pdf.blogrosebooks50reszdimage-202blogrosebooks25reszd2017-01-14-17-00-09The Old Rose world is a close-knit community and it was not surprising to learn that Hazel was good friends with Peter Beales and Graham Stuart Thomas, another foremost authority on Old Roses in England. He wrote the foreword to her book  A Heritage of Roses 1988, as seen in the photo above. Graham Stuart Thomas himself wrote the definitive Shrub Roses of Today back in 1962 , reprinted in 1963, 1967, 1974, 1980 and 1985. He has written a further 13 books on Old Roses and gardens and can lay credit to being responsible for the revival of interest in Old Roses. Graham Stuart Thomas (1909 – 2003) was heavily involved in the restoration of National Trust properties like Hidcote Manor and Sissinghurst Castle and their gardens, his pièce de résistance being the establishment of the National Collection of Old-Fashioned Roses at Montisfont Abbey : see https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont  and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/5819075/Graham-Stuart-Thomas-and-the-Mottisfont-old-roses.html.blogrosebooks50reszdimage-220 He actually met the renowned Arts and Crafts garden designer Gertrude Jekyll (1843 – 1932), revising her 1902 book Roses for English Gardens by Gertrude Jekyll and Edward Mawley in 1983. While bought more for its historical interest, it is still a worthy addition to my rose library, representing a very different era in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when old roses were merely the garden roses of the day and Hybrid Teas were just starting their ascendancy to world domination.blogrosebooks50reszdimage-201-copy Famous writer and gardener, Vita Sackville-West (1892 – 1962), was also a passionate admirer of Old Roses, planting 194 different types of old roses in her garden at Sissinghurst Castle by 1953, and while she did not publish any specific rose books, she does refer to them in her more general garden musings like my copy of V. Sackville-West’s Garden Book 1968.  See : https://sissinghurstcastle.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/roses-are-blooming-part-1-2/  and  http://www.gardensillustrated.com/article/plants/15-roses-sissinghhurst-castle.blogrosebooks50reszdimage-203Two more English books on Old Roses with beautiful photography are:

Designing With Roses by Tony Lord 1999, a sumptuous book with stunning photographs of roses and their gardens and

The Rose Gardens of England by Michael Gibson 1988 

Michael Gibson (1918 – 2000) was a well-known author and passionate rosarian, who specialized in roses and rose history and even though a little out-of-date, many of the rose gardens mentioned still exist and are open to the public, so it is definitely worth consulting if you are planning a tour of English Old Rose gardens in June and then googling your choices on the internet to confirm their continued existence and opening hours.blogrosebooks30reszdimage-221 He also wrote The Book of the Rose 1980, another great find from the secondhand bookstore with an excellent section on rose history and lovely illustrated plates. He once described the rose Fantin Latour, which was rediscovered and named by Graham Stuart Thomas, as “ one of the most beautiful roses of all”.blogrosebooks25reszdimage-206

See: https://www.countrygardenroses.co.uk/about-us/rose-gardener/2011-03-04-rose-of-the-week-7/, a link which leads me very neatly to the books of Antonia Ridge (1895 – 1981),  specifically  The Man Who Painted Roses about the life of French artist Fantin Latour (1836 – 1904), who painted many still-lifes featuring roses (see: https://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Painted-Roses-Pierre-Joseph/dp/0571105548  ), and my very favourite  For Love of a Rose, a delightfully written, slightly old-fashioned and quaint story of the creation of the Peace Rose and the Meilland and Paolino families behind it. It is a lovely happy read- everyone is decent and hard-working and it just makes you feel good!blogrosebooks50reszdimage-201I could not finish this blog without referring to one of the most famous French rose painters of all, ‘the Raphael of Flowers’, commissioned by Empress Josephine between 1817 and 1824, to paint all the roses in her famous rose collection at her chateau at Malmaison : Pierre- Joseph Redoute (1759 – 1840). Redoubte’s Roses is one of the largest books in our library and contains full-page  reproductions of colour plates of 167 roses with a brief description of each rose and its history.blogrosebooks20reszdimage-231

And finally, Naming of the Rose : Discovering Who Roses are Named For by Roger Mann 2008  is a fascinating read and gives more insight into the romance behind this beautiful flower.blogrosebooks30reszdimage-224

Next week, I will be discussing my favourite Old Rose websites. Till then…!

Postscript: I am adding in The Rose by David Austin 2012, a belated Christmas gift and the most beautiful and comprehensive book with chapters on Species Roses; the Old European Roses; Hybrid Teas and Floribundas; Polyanthas, Patio Roses and Miniatures; Shrub Roses and Ground-Covers; Climbers and Ramblers; and his own English Roses (with details and photos of 18 new roses), as well as information on how to grow these roses in the garden, companion plants for roses; maintenance of roses; and flower-arranging in the home. The photographs are so sumptuous and would be enough to convert any rose sassenach into a true believer!

blogrosebooksreszd25image-379