For Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, I would like to introduce you to my rosey friends from across the pond. Not Jane Austen, the writer, and her family members, although I’m a big fan. No, I’m speaking of the David Austin roses I’ve accumulated over the years.
This is the beautiful soft, petal pink, ‘Heritage.’ I think she looks like cotton candy, but I guess the name isn’t as romantic.
Seventeen years ago, the first three David Austin roses came to my garden. When I opened the Jackson & Perkins catalog and saw photos of ‘Heritage,’ ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ and ‘Graham Thomas,’ I knew I had to have them. Not knowledgeable about antique roses, I had never seen anything like those blooms.
That spring, after paying $24.95 per rose, I received a large box filled with three bare-root twigs. I planted them exactly as directed, and they thrived. The following spring I was pregnant with the Diva and not feeling well. HH went outside and decided to help me by burning off the garden. In previous years, it was a vegetable garden, and he forgot about the British visitors.
By the time I smelled smoke, all of my fancy, expensive imports were burned to a crisp. I can’t write what happened next, as this is a family blog.
Let me make it clear that burning off a garden isn’t that good an idea anyway. It just helps weed seeds to sprout.
Eventually, I replaced all three and added a few more. ‘Graham Thomas,’ named after the famous English rosarian, is a slightly more intense yellow than the antique ‘Buff Beauty.’ It is a good rose, and in our hot American climate, can be grown as a small, mannerly climber. I whack it regularly to keep it a bush. It is also pretty healthy and doesn’t suffer from a lot of blackspot.
‘Teasing Georgia’ is a pale apricot. I’ve only grown it a couple of years. It is a blackspot magnet though.
‘Abraham Darby’ is one of the most beautiful of the Austins. According to Chamblee’s Rose Nursery, it is named after one of the founders of the British industrial revolution. Listed by nurseries as an apricot blend, I have no other rose with this exact coloring. ‘Abraham Darby’ also smells wonderful and can be grown as a small climber in warm climates. It does get blackspot though.
‘Gertrude Jekyll’ in bud. ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ is named after the famous British garden designer. One thing I really like about this rose is that since it doesn’t have as many petals, it opens easier in cool weather. My bush is very small as I am trying to grow it on its own roots. I’ve had better luck in the past growing it as a grafted shrub, but it wasn’t as cold hardy.
‘Sophy’s Rose’ is a newer acquisition and a different bloom type. Her petals are pointed, giving her the look of a dahlia. I do love her. She also gets lots of blackspot, but I would grow her again anyway.
As much as I enjoy my Austins’ spring blooms, I probably won’t add to their number. They are a lot of trouble, although they like Bayer All in One, so it is easier now to care for them. Also, once the heat hits, most of them shut down blooming and put their energy into trying to be climbers. ‘Sophy’s Rose’ is one of the exceptions.
To enjoy more bloom day posts, pull up May Dreams Gardens and peruse the comments once you’ve read Carol’s post.
Happy Gardening Everyone. Happy May.