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Archive for the ‘Austin Roses’ Category

1-dar-2017-cover

                 Photo Courtesy of David Austin Roses

The 2017 David Austin Handbook of Roses has arrived! This beautiful and descriptive rose catalog features this seasons two new David Austin introductions now available in the United States and Canada —  ‘Desdemona’ and ‘The Ancient Mariner’.

Desdemona’s lush white flowers with hints of pink can be seen in the photograph featured on the cover of the 2017 David Austin Handbook. It is described as an upright rounded bush that produces sprays of roses with approximately 52 petals. Starting out as “peachy pink buds,” Desdemona has chalice-shaped blooms that, with time, open wider to reveal its stamens. According to Michael Marriott, technical director and senior rosarian for David Austin Roses in Albrighton, England, “Desdemona is Austin’s best white English Rose to date.” It is reported to have done well in both hot/humid and hot/dry conditions, so Mike and I think it will be able to cope with the hot and humid summers we experience here in southern New England, especially in late July.

3-desdemona
            Photo Courtesy of David Austin Roses

Desdemona, named after the tragic heroine of Othello by William Shakespeare, is described as having a strong and complex fragrance — a mixture of “old rose and almond blossom with hints of lemon zest and cucumber.” It is hardy in Zones 5-10 and grows 4’ x 3’.

7-the-ancient-mariner

       Photo Courtesy of David Austin Roses

The Ancient Mariner, the second 2017 introduction,  is named after the Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The Ancient Mariner is larger than Desdemona, growing 5’ x 3’ with blooms of 160 petals — more than 3 times the petals of Desdemona. These blooms are very large and face upward as opposed to the nodding characteristics of other David Austin roses. The Ancient Mariner yields cupped, rich pink flowers that are paler pink at the outer edge which results in a halo effect. As expected with David Austin Roses, The Ancient Mariner is very fragrant with the scent of myrrh. Since this rose is a larger than average shrub, it is ideal for the middle or back or the border or as a specimen bush, planted on its own. It is hardy in Zones 5-9.

6-the-ancient-mariner-bush

    Photo Courtesy of David Austin Roses

Both roses are said to be healthy and bloom all season, from late spring to late fall. They are also described as being disease resistance and having charm — one of the hybridizing objectives that is essential for David Austin Roses. For rose lovers like us, all these characteristics, especially the “charm” of David Austin Roses, make them irresistible.

For more information and to order these roses and/or the free 2017 David Austin Handbook of  Roses, visit www.DavidAustinRoses.com

If you enjoy David Austin Roses, you may want to consider our program David Austin’s English Roses for American Gardens for your organization. It covers the history of English roses as well as the unique David Austin breeding program that focuses on hybridizing healthy, fragrant roses with superior flower form. For more information about this program, visit the Program Page on our web site: www.rosesolutions.net

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Olivia Rose Austin - David Austin English Rose

Olivia Rose Austin                                   Photo by David Austin Roses

The holidays are over, the decorations have been put away and it’s time to review our “Wish List” of roses to plant in the spring. The trio of spectacular 2016 varieties that David Austin Roses has introduced for the United States and Canada sit at the top of the list. Read the descriptions below and you’ll see why!

Olivia Rose Austin with soft pink flowers of 90 petals each releases a strong fruity fragrance. This beauty features dark green foliage, grows 3-5 feet tall by 3 feet wide, and blooms repeatedly throughout the season. Interestingly, it been known to bloom 2-3 weeks earlier than other English roses. The Olivia Rose Austin rose is reported to be disease free and David Austin himself has described this rose as “possibly the best rose we’ve ever bred.”
This rose was named for David Austin’s granddaughter Olivia Rose Austin and is hardy in USDA Zones 5-10.

The Poets Wife - David Austin English Roses

The Poet’s Wife              Photo by David Austin Roses

The Poet’s Wife has yellow flowers, 4-5 inches in diameter, each with approximately 80 petals. It has a strong Old Rose fragrance and is on Austin’s list of Most Fragrant English roses. The Poet’s Wife’s typically grows 4 feet high by 3-1/2 feet wide but may grow larger in warmer climates. It is a repeat bloomer and the first yellow rose introduced since 2003. It is hardy in USDA Zones 5-10.

The Lady of the Lake - David Austin Roses

The Lady of the Lake                  Photo by David Austin Roses

The Lady of the Lake is a rambler that grows to 10-15 feet, perfect for trellises, walls, fences and obelisks. Most ramblers lack fragrance but The Lady of the Lake exudes a strong fresh citrus scent. Its blush pink flowers are 2 inches around with golden stamens in the center of 30 petals. It is hardy in Zones 7-10 and would need winter protection in USDA Zones 6 and colder.

Visit www.davidaustinroses.com for more information about these roses.

Ct Flower  Garden Show Banner

Learn more about David Austin Roses by coming to the 35th Annual Connecticut Flower & Garden Show in Hartford, CT (www.ctflowershow.com) on Saturday February 20, 2016. Mike and I will be presenting our program “David Austin’s English Roses for New England Gardens” developed in concert with David Austin Roses.

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2014 Spring Flower & Garden Shows

Flowers in a BugWill this winter never end! Here it is, March 2, and temps last night were in single digits and the weather forecast is for still more snow tonight. Paf!

BUT, last weekend was the first round of spring – really mid-winter – New England flower shows. The Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show as well as the Connecticut Spring Flower & Garden show were blessed with fine weather for their 4-day runs and attendance at both shows appeared heavy on the days when we were there.

'53 MG

’53 MG

In Providence, the Rhode Island show’s theme was “Vintage Gardens” which featured antique and classic automobiles as unique centerpieces in each display garden. I overheard a few grumbles that the cars distracted from the horticulture. I disagree. The cars were all in tip-top shape and were skillfully integrated into each garden’s design, creating interesting and novel exhibitions of gardening excellence.

Sand SculptureThe sand sculptors were back again this year and, following the show theme, carved a full sized old-timey automobile out of damp sand. This isn’t strictly horticulture either but it has become a popular feature at the show guessing by the number of visitors taking photos. I liked it, too.

Vintage Roadster

Vintage Roadster

I also liked a stylish entry that showcased an elegant vintage Art Deco wedding table with centerpieces, place settings and fine china set in a classy garden during the Roaring Twenties.

Roaring Twenties Wedding

Roaring Twenties Wedding

Our Friday lecture was titled “Discovering Easy-Care Roses” where we explored sustainable, winter hardy and attractive rose varieties that will flourish in a pesticide-free environment. We explained the process of selecting disease-resistant roses that can thrive in New England gardens and identified many easy-care roses currently available. This thoughtful process of discovery eliminates much of the frustration experienced by home gardeners by planting the right roses in the right gardens. Judging by the size of the audience, there was a great deal of interest in the program and we signed quite a few books at the end.

Pruning Demo

Pruning Demo

On Saturday, we conducted a much different program called “The Art of Pruning Roses.” I brought an overgrown potted rose bush that I dug out of the snow in the winter crib and demonstrated easy-to-follow steps that demystified rose pruning. The lively audience was very curious about pruning and many had felt that pruning was some form of alchemy and that they would destroy a rose with poor pruning. Not so. Lots of Q and A during and after the demo.

The Connecticut Flower & Garden Show was held in the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Their 2014 theme was “Backyard Paradise” and it was indeed a paradise. This convention center is really, really big with three acres of convention space and the huge main show floor was packed with over 300 booths on one side and gorgeous gardens on the other. Our favorite was a full-size, nicely landscaped bocce court.

Bocce Court

Bocce Court

We conducted our most popular program, “Six Simple Steps to Successful Rose Gardening” twice on Sunday. Home gardeners want to grow roses and this program shows then how. This is our favorite program and regardless of the number of times we have presented it, it never gets old.

The next stop on the show circuit is the Boston Flower & Garden Show in two weeks and our “David Austin’s English Roses for New England Gardens” is scheduled for Saturday, March 15 at 12:30. We have updated this program with lush photos of new 2014 Austin introductions as well as many of the old Austin favorites.

Spring (and winter) flower shows come at just the right time, when the gardening spirit is rising in anticipation for the coming season. However, the price we pay for this vernal hope is this persistently cold, dark, dreary, dank, desolate, and dismal winter. Nevertheless, days are growing longer and spring will not be denied, just delayed.

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Tranquillity

Tranquillity

This is the time of year when Mike and I consider what rose varieties we’ll plant in our garden this spring. This past weekend we presented the program “David Austin Roses for New England Gardens” and included the five roses that Austin has introduced in the US for 2014.

With limited space in our garden, but with plans for an additional cottage garden, we’re looking at incorporating at least 2 of David Austin’s new introductions. While pursuing our quest for more white roses, we’ve chosen to add Tranquillity. When we saw the photo of Tranquillity with its pure white flowers each packed with over 100 petals and buds that start out with red and hints of yellow we were ‘gobsmacked.’ In addition to its beautiful blooms, this variety has typical light green foliage and very few thorns with an upright growth habit. Perfect  for our cottage garden. Another plus is its light apple fragrance. Hardy to Zone 5

Heathcliff

Heathcliff

The rich saturated crimson color of Heathcliff with 100 or so petals formed into rosette shaped blooms was enough to convince me that this was another Austin rose I’m putting on my list. This variety, reminiscent of the old red Gallica Roses, has an upright growth with shiny deep green foliage. Hardy to Zone 5

The three other 2014 introductions for the US include:

Boscobel

Boscobel

Boscobel has rosette blooms of salmon to deep pink. It has 78 petals and forms an upright, medium-sized shrub with dark green, glossy foliage. It is described as having a medium to strong myrrth fragrance. Hardy to Zone 5.

Royal Jubilee

Royal Jubilee

Royal Jubilee’s flowers have deeply chalice shaped, deep pink blooms with broad petals that curve inward. It is an Alba hybrid whose growth habit is typical of English Albas. Royal Jubilee, named in celebration of the 2012 Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, has a rich fruity fragrance, and grey-green glossy Alba foliage. Hardy to Zone 5.

The Lark Ascending

The Lark Ascending

The last 2014 introduction is The Lark Ascending described as a different English Rose. Its loosely cupped, soft apricot blooms of 22 petals grow in clusters on a shrub with tall airy growth that can reach 5’. Some of you may recognize the name The Lark Ascending which is taken from Ralph Vaughan Williams’ piece of music which is a favorite of Mr. Austin’s. Many in our audience also recognized the name and were fans of Ralph Vaughan Williams music. Hardy to Zone 5.

It’s always difficult to choose what roses to plant each year and with the introduction of these Austin roses, my wish list grows longer. If only we had unlimited space!

Note: All photos are from David Austin Roses

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Easy to Grow Rose: Kiss Me

Easy to Grow Rose: Kiss Me

2014 promises to be an interesting year.

Angelina and I are planning a trip to Ireland in May exactly 100 years after my grandfather, Thomas Healey, immigrated to the United States. He had been an estate gardener, first in Ireland and later in Scotland, then continued that occupation when he arrived in Southboro, Massachusetts as a young man. That must be where my green thumb comes from.

Mike at Newport Flower Show

Mike at Newport Flower Show

2014 is also shaping up to be another busy season on the lecture circuit. We have accepted invitations to speak from garden clubs and other horticultural organizations as well as from the three major New England spring flower shows. (See the complete list of 2014 programs, dates, and times on our 2014 new Lecture Series page.)

Tranquillity

Tranquillity

The season opener is for the Rhode Island Rose Society on Saturday, February 8 when we roll out the updated David Austin’s English Roses for New England Gardens program featuring new Austin introductions for 2014. We especially like Tranquility, a medium sized, almost thornless rosebush with buds that start out showing red and yellow as the sepals fall but turn  pure white when fully open. The rosette-shaped flowers with a whopping 110 petals and a light apple fragrance, are hardy to zone 5. Given our affection for white roses, Tranquility is on our plant list for 2014.

On Friday, February 21, we’ll once again be in the Providence Convention Center at the Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show. The program, Discovering Easy-Care Roses, reveals the secret that plant selection is the single most important step in successful rose gardening. The following day we’re back at the Rhode Island show demonstrating The Art of Pruning Roses. Pruning roses is not alchemy; come and let us show you how.

Spring Pruning

Spring Pruning

We’re off to Hartford, CT on Sunday, February 23 to the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show. This is our first visit to the Connecticut flower show and we will deliver our most popular program, Six Simple Steps to Successful Rose Gardening, twice that afternoon. “Backyard Paradise” is the show theme and our PowerPoint program fits right in. We have been accepting more and more invitations to Connecticut venues in recent years and we look forward to catching up with old friends at the 2014 Connecticut flower show.

Angelina and I return to the Boston Flower & Garden Show on the Ides of March with the David Austin program which segues nicely into their 2014 show theme, “Romance in the Garden.” Americans love everything British, from literature to movies to TV to gardening, and our program introduces sturdy, old fashioned, fragrant English roses to New England gardeners. You will be gobsmacked by this presentation.

Our annual bud grafting workshop is scheduled for Saturday, August 2 in our garden. Bud grafting roses is a method of propagation that hasn’t changed in ages.  We provide the rootstock and demonstrate the simple technique of grafting then you graft your own varieties and take them home. This hands-on workshop is free but we charge a materials fee for the potted rootstock.

Mike & Angelina

Mike & Angelina

In between all this, our schedule is full of garden club bookings along with presentations to various horticultural organizations.  Occasionally, we customize programs and in the past have developed special one-of-a-kind seminars. One of our favorites is conducting the Six Simple Steps program in an outdoor garden setting in June using fresh roses from the garden instead of PowerPoint slides.

My grandfather, who could grow anything, would be amazed if he could see how horticulture has changed in 100 years. I think he would approve of the great improvements in flowers and vegetables especially the dramatic increases in winter hardiness and disease resistance in ornamentals. I know he would absolutely love the flower shows as much as we do.

Keep checking the Lecture Series page as we add bookings throughout the season and if you need a program at the last minute for any reason, maybe we can help. Contact us at mike@rosesolutions.net.

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Bareroot-Rose

When we were looking for the rose ‘Fighting Temeraire’, none of our local nurseries carried it. The only place we could find this 2013 David Austin new introduction was at the David Austin Roses facility in the United States in Tyler, Texas. Mike ordered 2 of these fragrant, apricot climbers over the phone

Fighting Temeraire Photo Credit: David Austin Roses

Fighting Temeraire
Photo Credit: David Austin Roses

and even received a 10% discount with our American Rose Society membership! (Mike is old-school and likes to talk to the people he’s buying from.) The bareroot roses arrived last week and we can’t wait to get them planted.

Rose bushes are harvested as dormant plants in late November in vast fields in Texas, Arizona, and California where they have been growing for almost two seasons. The soil has been shaken from the roots – hence the term “bare root” – and the foliage mechanically removed. They are graded, labeled and tied in bundles of five or ten and stored in large climate-controlled warehouses until the following spring when they are distributed throughout the United States for retail sales.

Bareroot roses are much lighter than potted roses, thus saving weight and shipping costs, and this is how most mail order roses are sold. While local nurseries, including those specializing in roses, stock new introductions each season as well as some tried-and-true old favorites, it’s not possible for them to stock every variety. However, buying bareroot roses from reputable online and catalogue sources almost anywhere in the United States and Canada is an ideal way to procure unusual varieties that aren’t available locally as well as varieties that are rare and hard-to-find.

Since most casual rose gardeners are accustomed to buying potted roses at their local nursery, the idea of receiving a bareroot rose, naked of soil, may be a little daunting. Just remember, though, that all potted roses arrive at the garden center as bareroot roses and are potted up locally for sale throughout the season.

If you decide to order bareroot roses by mail order it’s best to buy them from a reputable vendor. The rose should be a graded as a #1 rose and it that should be stated either in the catalog or on the web site that this is the grade that you are getting. A #1 rose is a rose with 3 or more canes about the size of my thumb with a well developed root system.

David-Austin-boxBareroot roses are shipped to arrive when you’re able to plant them within a week or so. Since it’s been colder than usual here in Rhode Island, Mike requested David Austin Roses ship on the first week of April which is another reason he ordered over the phone. Timing becomes important and most mail order plants are shipped on a Monday so they are delivered before the following weekend eliminating the possibility of them being stuck in a below-freezing trailer or warehouse over the weekend. The plants are hydrated prior to shipping and will be wrapped in plastic bags or the roots may be covered with wet peat to keep them fresh. Finally, they’re packed in sturdy cardboard boxes and sent on their way.

Bareroot Rose PackingWhen they arrive on your doorstep they should be unpacked as soon as possible then placed in a large bucket of water for 24 hours in order to rehydrate the plant. If you leave them soaking longer than 24 hours, that’s okay, too.  When we get busy we’ve been known to let them soak up to week before planting them and we haven’t lost a bare root rose yet.

Bareroot Rose SoakingOnce the roots have been rehydrated, you’re ready to plant the rose either in the ground or in a large pot that will accommodate the size of the rose and its roots for at least one season. If you’d like to know the steps for planting a bare root rose go to our web site, www.rosesolutions.net and read Mike’s article “How to Plant Roses.”

We are anxious to see “Fighting Temeraire” bloom in our garden this summer. We hope it lives up to its namesake, the iconic Joseph Turner painting hanging in London’s National Gallery. Hmmm, this could be another reason to go back to the UK next year.

Meanwhile, Mike has a spot already picked out for one ‘Fighting Temeraire’ and will plant the other one in a large container. We’ll post pictures when they bloom.

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Graham Thomas

Graham Thomas

Winter arrived with a vengeance last week with sub-zero night-time temperatures we haven’t seen in southern New England for a couple of years. Since the third week of January is historically the coldest time of the year, this should have come as no great surprise. But it did!

February Daffodils

February Daffodils

Despite this, the first wave of rose catalogues arrived in the mail last week awakening the gardening spirit with a sure signal that spring is right around the corner. It’s also a reminder that February is the month when Flower Shows spring up like the daffodil spears poking out of the soil that we discovered in the front garden yesterday.

RI Flower Show Arrangement

RI Flower Show Arrangement

Each year Mike and I look forward to the Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show in Providence. We enjoy the display gardens, the beautiful and creative flower arrangements, the informative lectures, and Mike really likes the pungent aroma of pine bark mulch that fills the hall. It’s also a plus for us that it’s a local show; driving into Providence is easy and parking is usually plentiful. Our lecture this year is on Saturday February 23 at 2:00 pm when we will present the program “David Austin’s English Roses for New England Gardens.” If you love the old-fashioned form and fragrance of David Austin’s English Roses, then don’t miss this program. If you don’t have a copy of our book, Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening, we will have them available after our lecture.

Carding MillPhoto by David Austin Roses

Carding Mill
Photo by David Austin Roses

Prior to the lecture, at 12:30 on Saturday, we’ll be conducting a demonstration on basic rose care – “Rosology 101” – that explains the steps needed to grow beautiful roses. As a bonus, Mike usually demonstrates how to prune roses. Spring PruningWe’ll be presenting this demonstration on behalf of the Rhode Island Rose Society and will have membership forms available if you would like to join. If you can’t make this demonstration, visit the RI Rose Society booth (Booth B) on the 3rd floor where you’ll find a wealth of information on everything roses. Society members will available throughout the show to answer your rose questions.

At the 2013 Boston Flower & Garden Show, held at the Seaport World Trade Center, we’ll be introducing a new program, “Discovering Sustainable Roses,” on Friday, March 15 at 2:30 pm. The focus is on modern, sustainable roses – sturdy attractive plants that can hold their own in a pesticide-free landscape. Our PowerPoint program identifies varieties that are easier to grow, winter hardy, far more disease-resistant, and bloom longer. In fact, we have a garden full of them at home and use that as a model.

My Girl

My Girl

February and March are the perfect times to start thinking about gardening and choosing roses to plant. We hope to see you at the Flower Shows in Providence and Boston this year. For your convenience, I’ve listed below other spring Flower Shows you may want to visit.

2013 Flower Shows:

February 21 – 24: Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show, Providence, RI

February 21 – 24: Connecticut Flower & Garden Show, Hartford, CT

March 1 – 3: Vermont Flower Show, Essex Junction, VT

March 2 – 10: Philadelphia International Flower Show, Philadelphia, PA

March 7 – 10: Portland Flower Show, Portland, ME

March 13 – 17: Boston Flower & Garden Show, Boston, MA

March 23 – 24: Seacoast Home & Garden Show, Durham, NH

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