Each fall Mike and I start thinking about what new varieties to add to our gardens next season. We’ve decided to increase our David Austin collection and have selected some new Austin varieties to plant in 2013.
We already grow some Austin roses including Graham Thomas, one of our all-time favorites. Mike planted Graham, one of Austin’s break-through introductions in 1983, more than 20 years ago as a specimen planting. Every June, Graham is the focal point of our garden – a large (8’ tall and 6’ wide) shrub rose with long arching sprays of tea scented, bright yellow blooms. He’s not only a great garden rose but an impressive exhibition rose, too. Every year we exhibit Graham Thomas in the Rhode Island Rose Society’s Annual Rose Show. We especially enjoy selecting six identical, fresh blooms to display in an English box, a very popular class in the Rose Show.
However, Graham isn’t as disease resistant as we’d like, so he’s not a great sustainable variety as we define the term. But we can recommend a few other older Austin varieties with better disease resistant including Heritage and The Mayflower. We recently asked our friends at David Austin Roses to suggest roses that would grow well in our New England climate and they included them in our newest PowerPoint program.
My favorite rose recommended by Austin Roses for New England Gardens is Lichfield Angel. When I saw the photograph I knew I had to have that rose in our garden. The blooms of Lichfield Angel have 100 petals that start as deep cup-shaped blooms and open into rosettes. It’s described as creamy apricot, but appears to be a creamy white when it’s fully opened. In addition to its beautiful clusters of blooms, Lichfield Angel has a light clove fragrance and its habit – 4’ x 3’ – will fit in our garden. Names of roses interest me, and this rose is named after an 8th century limestone sculptured panel that was discovered in the Lichfield Cathedral near the Austin Nursery in the UK.
While the petal count, flower form and creamy white color attracted me to Lichfield Angel, Mike was drawn to Fighting Temeraire, an Austin rose that will be introduced in the US in 2013. This apricot rose with bright yellow centers doesn’t look anything like a typical Austin rose. This new introduction is described as a very healthy, vigorous rose that produces large 4” to 5” fully open blooms of about 20 petals – far fewer petals than in most Austin varieties. Mike’s original attraction to the rose came from his interest in the painting, The Fighting Temeraire, by the famous 19th century British artist, Joseph M.W. Turner. We’ll be adding this to our wish list as well.
We’re still adding to our list of rose varieties to try next season. What are some of the roses you’re thinking of planting in your garden?