Visits with interesting plants

Visits June 2019 – David Austin Roses

June 2019

David Austin Roses

The sun shone! After a damp and rather dismal June, during which the gardens certainly got the rain they needed, there was a change in the wind direction in the final few days and the sun finally shone. Luckily I was in the vicinity of the David Austin Rose garden.

Just in case you’ve never heard of David Austin (who died at the end of last year at the age of 92), he was a prodigious and highly successful rose breeder who built a world-renowned rose business – David Austin Roses. He is probably best known for his ‘English’ roses, which he bred with the aim of crossing the romantically beautiful ‘old roses’ that often only flower once a year with modern, repeat-flowering hybrids, so that he could combine the best attributes of both.

Clockwise from top left: ‘Hyde Hall’, ‘Tess of the D’Urbavilles, ‘Buttercup’, ‘Morning Mist’ and ‘Dame Judi Dench’

The garden is separated into several different areas. The Long Garden combines pergolas festooned with climbing and rambling roses above beds brimming over with colourful shrub roses.

The Renaissance Garden has a long rill as its central feature, and is surrounded by a display of English roses that demonstrates the dizzying range of sizes, shapes and colours that have been bred over the years.

The Lion garden shows roses in combination with herbaceous perennials – the best way to use them in most gardens.

The Victorian Walled Garden is more formal. There are three circular borders containing shrub roses, with climbers and ramblers trained over arches and growing on the surrounding walls.

Climbers and Ramblers

‘Iceberg’, ‘Pyllis Bide’, ‘The Lady of the Lake’, ‘Mountain Snow’, ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’

The pictures above show some of the many magnificent climbing and rambling roses that were on display in the garden. What’s the difference? Ramblers are usually more vigorous and often only flower once, whereas climbing roses are usually smaller and will often repeat flower. There are, of course, exceptions. If you have a small garden this can be one of the best ways to work roses in as there’s usually somewhere you can get some vertical space. Try building a pergola, adding trellis and wires to a fence or simply using a large obelisk as a support (for a climber, probably not for a rambler).

Not all the roses in the garden were bred by David Austin. This is Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’. It has terrific scent, is very attractive to bees and forms large hips after the flowers finish. It’s quite large at over 1.5m high and wide, but if you’ve got the space, what better way to fill it?

‘Vanessa Bell’, ‘Mountain Snow’, ‘Buff Beauty’ and ‘Wollerton Old Hall’

So many roses, so little black spot. How do they do it?

If you even vaguely like roses it is very easy to spend couple of hours wandering around this garden, enjoying the beauty of the flowers and the scents. You’ll probably feel inspired to grow more roses, too, and happily there is a plant centre here so you might be able to buy your favourite variety. If they don’t have it, you can always take a free catalogue and order online.

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