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Archive for the ‘David Austin Roses’ Category

 

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David C.H. Austin                    (Photo: DavidAustinRoses.com)

David C. H. Austin, the founder of David Austin Roses Ltd,  passed away in December at the age of 92 in Albrighton, England, the town where he was born. He leaves a lasting legacy of extraordinary horticultural accomplishment having melded the virtues of old garden roses with those of modern roses, a daunting challenge. He had a clear vision of what could be and, through a lifetime of patience and persistence, followed his dreams and, in doing so, forever changed the international rose landscape.

The son of an English farmer, Austin’s interest was in horticulture more so than agriculture, particularly roses. As a young nurseryman in the 1950s, he loved the character and fragrance of traditional old garden roses and bemoaned their decline in popularity. While roses then were still a favorite plant of gardeners everywhere, the modern hybrid teas and floribundas with their repeat blooming ability and much broader color spectrum had pushed the once-blooming, old-fashioned roses with limited colors to one side.

Is it possible, Austin wondered, to capture the flower form and fragrance of the old roses — a rose with no fragrance, he was known to say, is only half a rose — and combine it with the remondancy (repeat bloom) and rich color palette of modern roses?

Thus, starting in his farmhouse kitchen 60 years ago, Austin began a life-long quest for his ideal rose, a quest that grew into an internationally recognized brand that is widely marketed throughout Europe and the United States.

1-Graham-Thomas

Graham Thomas

His first introduction was Constance Spry in 1961.  This beautiful, pink, fragrant climber is still available today but it was a once-bloomer and the pursuit of remondancy continued. The breakthrough came in 1983 when Austin introduced three varieties, Graham Thomas, Mary Rose, and Heritage, at the Chelsea Flower Show in London. Each had the desired old rose flower form, distinct fragrance, attractive colors as well as the all-important ability to re-bloom more than once per season. He referred to these three beauties as “English” roses and they shot him onto center stage in the rose world and he never looked back. His roses would go on to win 24 gold medals at Chelsea and he was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2007 for services to horticulture.

 

2-Heritage

Heritage

Over time, David Austin Roses developed the largest rose breeding program in the world, yielding 250,000 seedlings each year. Austin’s challenge was to balance the science of plant genetics with a vision of his ideal rose in a never ending search for certain key characteristics.  These distinctive traits include overall beauty, old fashioned floral form, outstanding garden performance, fragrance and “charm” — a British term meaning a unique difference from other roses. Achieving some of the desired characteristics in one variety is notable; achieving them all in one variety is the magnum opus of a career.

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David Austin in Hybridizing Greenhouse   (Photo: DavidAustinRoses.com)

David Austin had said, “Every day, I marvel at my good fortune to have been able to make a life out of breeding roses. My greatest satisfaction is to see the pleasure my roses give to gardeners and rose lovers worldwide.” To that we reply, “It has been our good fortune to enjoy the beauty of these magnificent roses and to have benefitted from the vision of David C.H. Austin.”

 

If you would like to learn more about David Austin Roses, including details about his breeding program, we offer a PowerPoint Program, “David Austin’s English  Roses for New England Gardens.”

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vanessa bell

Vanessa Bell – Photo: David Austin Roses

Every year Mike and I look forward to the new introductions from David Austin Roses. This spring, there will be three new English Roses available to U.S and Canadian gardeners: ‘Vanessa Bell’, ‘Dame Judi Dench’, and ‘James L. Austin’.

We love yellow roses, our favorite being ‘Graham Thomas’. When I saw ‘Vanessa Bell’, with its delicate, soft yellow petals that grow in clusters and fragrance described as “green tea with aspects of lemon and honey,” I decided that it definitely has a spot in our garden this spring. Not only is ‘Vanessa Bell’ floriferous, but is said to have a compact growth habit. It grows 4’ x 3’, is hardy to Zone 5 and is named after the artist and founding member of the Bloomsbury Group.

dame judi dench

  Dame Judi Dench- Photo: David Austin Roses

One of the loveliest apricot-orange roses I’ve seen is the new introduction named after ‘Dame Judi Dench’. Red-tipped buds open to large apricot rosettes with ruffled petals and a button eye. The flowers have a light tea fragrance and the bush has a relaxed, arching growth habit which is 4’ x 4’. It is hardy to Zone 5 and, obviously, named after the well-known actor Dame Judi Dench.

james l austin

James L. Austin – Photo: David Austin Roses

What a beautiful color the rose “James L. Austin’ is — one that will stand out in any garden. This rose has a bushy, upright habit with large, densely-petalled blooms that are an amazing shade of a deep reddish-pink which I would describe as a lovely raspberry color. How fitting, since its fragrance is described as “fruity, evoking blackberry and raspberry …” Growth habit is 4’x3’ and is hardy to Zone 5. James L. Austin is the son of David Austin Senior.

These new introductions are now available at www.davidaustinroses.com and are sold as bare root roses. They will not be available in garden centers as potted roses until the Spring of 2020.

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David Austin Roses has also redesigned their 2019 Handbook of Roses. This year’s 175 page handbook includes a new fold-out” Index by Color” that has over 100 photos, as well as helpful information on rose care and detailed descriptions of their roses together with photographs, growth habit and zone information. We recently received our annual shipment of these beautiful catalogues that we distribute when we present our “David Austin’s English Roses for New England Gardens” programs. You can also order them from David Austin Roses through their web site (see above) or their toll free number (800-328-8893).

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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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Passionate-Kisses

Passionate Kisses: One of our 25 Favorite Roses

Tempus Fugit…it really does. 2015 has gone by in a blink and now the Christmas season is upon us with the New Year arriving in a few weeks. This means the spring flower shows and the start of our 2016 Lecture Series are right around the corner.
Our entertaining lectures, seminars and workshops are designed to illustrate to every gardener the enjoyment of growing roses. We have developed two new programs recently to add to our repertoire – “Rose Gardening Season by Season” which follows our second book, Rose Gardening Season by Season: A Journal for Passionate Gardeners, published last February. The second program is “12 Great Roses Anyone Can Grow” which identifies 12 attractive easy-care varieties.
RI Flower ShowWe open the season in February with two New England Flower Shows. On February 18, Angelina and I demonstrate basic rose care at the Rhode Island Spring Flower and Garden Show and return the following day, February 19, to present “Rose Gardening Season by Season.” (See the complete list of programs, dates and times on the 2016 Lecture Series page. See tab above.)
Ct Flower  Garden Show BannerOn Saturday, February 20 we hit the road to Hartford and the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show with two programs. At 11am we present our “David Austin’s English Roses for New England Gardens”, featuring several new Austin 2016 introductions. And at 2pm Angelina and I reprise our “Twenty-Five Fabulous Roses” program that we introduced last year. A busy weekend.
Boston Flower ShowWe travel north to Beantown on Saturday March 19, to début a special lecture at the Boston Flower and Garden Show called “Rose Gardening Season by Season – Let nature Show the Way.”

 

Olivia Rose

Olivia Rose Austin: 2016 David Austin Introduction       Photo by David Austin Roses

On April 2, in Newport RI at the American Rose Society’s Yankee District Convention, we again present “Twenty-Five Fabulous Roses”. And On April 7, we continue to promote sustainable rose gardening with “12 Great Roses Anyone Can Grow” for the Barrington (RI) Community School.
On June 18, Angelina and I discuss rose-garden basics at the Rhode Island Rose Society’s 18th annual rose show in Wickford, RI. This is a short talk followed by lots of Q and A from the public.
In between all these events our schedule includes visits to garden clubs and other horticultural organizations throughout New England plus time out for a trip to The Netherlands, Belgium and France, making early 2016 another busy season for Angelina and I.
So as one season melds into another, we again look forward to making new acquaintances as well as catching up with old friends, some that we only see once a year. With the New Year also comes the realization that we have been presenting lectures, conducting seminars and leading workshops on all aspects of rose culture for over two decades and yet it never gets old.
We are available to speak at symposiums and conventions and will travel to just about anywhere. We can customize programs and even produce one-of-a-kind presentations. We continue to add bookings throughout the year so keep checking in. As always, if your organization needs a program at the last minute maybe we can help. Contact me at mike@rosesolutions.net.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Mike and Angelina

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The Lady Gardener

The Lady Gardener

If you love fragrant, old-fashioned roses that bloom all season, you may want to consider some of the new introductions from David Austin Roses that will be available to American gardeners this spring. Last year when Mike and I were looking for white roses, we planted Tranquillity, an Austin 2014 US introduction. Since our color taste is moving toward more vibrant colors, especially apricots and peaches, we’re considering adding Austin’s The Lady Gardener with her fragrant blooms of pure apricot.

The Lady Gardener

The Lady Gardener

The Lady Gardener has an intense tea fragrance and is on Austin’s list of Most Fragrant English Roses. The rich apricot blooms produced are large – about 4 “across – and its numerous petals form a rosette flower that appears quartered. It reblooms throughout the season and is ideal for smaller gardens since it has a small habit of about 3½ feet tall and 2½ feet wide. The Lady Gardener will be a great addition to our collection of other apricot and peach colored roses.

Other 2015 North American introductions include:

Maid Marion

Maid Marion

Maid Marion is very fragrant with blooms packed with clear rose pink petals. The flower opens as cup-shaped but when fully open, displays outer paler pink petals that frame the inner darker pink petals in a circular, saucer shape. It has an upright habit, grows to about 3 ft tall and 3 ft wide and provides repeat blooms from spring to fall. This rose is named for the character Maid Marion, made famous in the legend of Robin Hood.

Thomas a Becket

Thomas a Becket

Thomas à Becket has large red flowers with old rose fragrance and a natural and shrub-like growth. Its shallow-cupped blooms display petals from light red to carmine and have a nodding habit that’s typical of many Austin varieties. It can reach a height of 4 ft tall or more and 3 ft. across depending on how it is pruned. David Austin Roses named this rose on behalf of Canterbury Cathedral.

Thomas a Becker

Thomas a Becker

The Albrighton Rambler has small, soft pink flowers with a button eye that bloom in large sprays. It has the potential to grow as tall as 10 to 12 feet or more. While many ramblers bloom only once per season, The Albrighton Rambler will repeat all season. This rose, according to David Austin Roses was “named to commend the Striders, Steppers and Strollers who walk around the village of Albrighton, where our Nursery is located.”

The Albrighton Rambler

The Albrighton Rambler

You can find these roses at David Austin Roses’ web site at http://www.davidaustinroses.com or ask for them at your local nursery or garden center.

All Photos: David Austin Roses

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