I don't think it would be an over-statement to say that David Austin is probably the most important and influential breeder of modern times. David Austin roses have reignited a fierce passion for roses world-wide and introduced a whole new generation of gardeners to this most beautiful of blooms. Born in 1926, on a farm in the English Midlands where he still resides, David started his breeding programme with the objective of combining "the best of the old with the best of the new". His first releases were crosses between Gallicas and Floribundas producing "Constance Spry" in 1961 and "Chianti" in 1967. Two lovely roses but only once flowering, the main aim was to produce reliable "repeaters". This was achieved in 1969 with the release of The Canterbury Tales series. Around about the 1980's David Austin started to use the brand "English Roses" but such is our association with the man and his roses that these wonderful roses are simply and affectionately called "David Austin's" or just plain "Austin's".
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International success was achieved in 1983 with the release of "Mary Rose" and "Graham Thomas". In 2009, 26 years after release, "Graham Thomas" was voted the "World's Favourite Rose" by the World Federation of Rose Societies. Many other awards followed for both the man and the roses. "Princess Alexandra of Kent" and "Munstead Wood" are two recent releases which have received top awards for fragrance. David Austin has been awarded an OBE, the Victoria Medal of Honour by the Royal Horticultural Society, the Dean Hole Medal by the Royal National Rose Society, an Honorary MSc from the University of East London and a lifetime achievement award from the Garden Centre Association in 2004. In the family owned rose nursery where David Austin now works along side his son, David junior, roughly 300,000 rose seeds are planted every year in order to find the next magical Austin to delight rose lovers around the world. Modern Austin roses have the desirable characteristics of good vigour and fragrance but to me their very best feature is that they are at their most beautiful when fully open. Simply irresistible!
Austin. Very white double flowers in an 'old rose' form with a blush of buff towards the center. The foliage is a glossy mid-green. Named for the Cathedral made famous in song to aid the on-going restoration. Free flowering and fragrant. 1988. PVR.
Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.2m x 90cm
Austin. This is a beautiful rose that looks good enough to serve up with dessert. The large, full, quartered blooms consist of over 80 frilly petals that look like whipped cream when fully open. Strong fruity fragrance. Free flowering and a nice compact habit. 2007. PVR.
Colour: Cream Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1m x 80cm
Austin. This is a really good rose with large semi-double flowers of soft lemon yellow paling to almost cream. The flowers open to reveal silky golden stamens. Strong upright growth. Reliable, flowers freely. 1984. PVR.
Colour: Yellow Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.2m X 1.2m
Austin. Miss Portia has cup shaped, double flowers in shades of rich mauve pink that are very strongly scented. Mid green foliage and vigorous growth habit. Flowers from summer through to autumn. Only needs light pruning. 1982.
Colour: Purple / Mauve Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 75cm x 75cm
Austin. Not to be confused with a previous release AKA 'Wisley'. This is a rose with exceptional delicacy and charm with shallow cupped rosettes of bloom in a soft pink shade. The blooms are very fragrant and repeat well. Slightly arching habit. PVR 2008.
Wisley is the research garden run the Royal Horticultural Society. The first 'Wisley' rose released by David Austin did not continue to meet the high standards expected of an Austin rose so it has been withdrawn and replaced with 'Wisley 2008'. F.Y.I.
Colour: Pink Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.25m x 0.75m
Austin. One of the most fragrant of all English Roses having the distinctive myrrh scent which is rarely found in roses today. The plump buds have attractive flashes of red. These open to form round, rich buttery yellow coloured blooms which eventually pale to a softer creamy colour. Deciduous
A large bush rose that can also be used as a small climber.
Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 0.9m
Austin. Named after David Austin's Dad. Soft yellow, fully double, rosette shaped flowers shaded a deeper yellow towards the centre. Rich fruity fragrance and a reliable long flowering period. 1975. PVR.
Colour: Yellow Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.5m
Austin. The double full blooms of this gorgeous rose are large and deeply cupped even when fully open. They have a strong fragrance and are coloured a deep magenta shade with a silvery hue. A lovely rose that will provide you with plenty of blooms to pick and enjoy. PVR 2008.
Now this is interesting - the Poet Milton introduced the word fragrance to the English language. This very fragrant rose is named after the Milton poem called 'Lycidas' to commemorate the 400th anniversay of Milton's birth. Don't worry there won't be a test when you buy the rose!
Colour: Red / Grey Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.2m x 0.9m