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 DAVID AUSTIN ROSES
 

BY BRUCE ZIMMERMAN

The roses we see in the paintings of the old masters where the old roses of 18th and 19th centuries. These roses are of the Gallica, Damasks, Portland and Bourbon types. Cross-pollinating them with the modern Hybrid Teas, disease resistance, repeat blooming and bush shape of our modern roses. This wide range of parent roses makes it difficult to group the different off spring. A valiant attempt has been made and the following are the eight groups.
Aloha Strain: These were crossed with the modern climbing roses giving strong open form and fragrant heavy flowers e.g. Abraham Darby - Apricot -Pink roses with fruity fragrance - 5 ft x 5 ft or climber to 8 ft. - Good winter hardiness.
Gloire de Dijon: These are Noisette roses crossed with the modern Hybrid Teas producing roses with late modern rose leaves and large fragrant roses e.g. Sweet Juliet - Apricot Pink Blush roses with tea rose fragrance with hint of citrus -  upright form for the back of the border - 4 ft. x 3.5 ft or 8 ft as a climber
Heritage Strain: These were crossed with the floribundas to produce a good bushy plant with shiny leaves and fragrant flowers e.g. Graham Thomas - Rich pure yellow roses - upright bushy 5 ft. x 4 ft climber easily to 10-12 ft. Disease Resistant Foliage
Mary Rose Strain: Bushy growth with repeat blooming e.g. Mary Rose - Rose Pink roses - old rose fragrance -  Good bushy plant - 5 ft x 4 ft - Good Hardiness
Old Strain: These are the catch all for the roses that do not fit into the other group and include the very old crosses e.g. Constance Spry - Superb Climber to 12 ft - Large soft pink  roses - Very Strong Myrhh fragrance - flowers only once per season
Portland Strain: they have the long drooping Damasks like leaves and Old Rose fragrance e.g. Gertrude Jekyll- Rich glowing pink Roses-Upright growth 4.5 ft x 3.5 ft as a climber to 8 ft. -  Very winter hardy.
The Squire Strain: These are usually large dark coloured flowers with an Old Rose fragrance. The bush has stout stems and many thorns. e.g. L.D Braithwaite - Bright crimson roses - Light Scent at first but as flower ages changes to old rose fragrance - 4.5 ft x 4 ft - Good winter hardiness.
Wife of Bath Strain: Short bushy plants and flowers with a Myrrh fragrance. e.g. Wife of Bath - Pink strong fragrance  3 ft x 2 ft.

CARE OF DAVID AUSTIN ROSES

PRUNING: (in early spring)  The very different habits of the David Austin Roses make it difficult to have hard and fast rules for pruning.
SPREADING TYPES: Remove about 1/3 of the length of all the stems to an outward facing bud.
ARCHING: Remove 1/5 of each stem to maintain the plants shape.
BUSHY: Remove 1/3 of each stem to a bud. Remove weak spindly growth.
UPRIGHT: Prune hard removing half of each stem to an outward facing bud.
For most gardeners if you do not know which kind you have. Prune them all back to 6 inches in the early Spring.
DEAD-HEADING: To encourage new growth and repeat blooming you must remove the spent flowers so that the rose hips do not develop.
PLANTING: These roses like a well drained, rich organic soil with a slightly acidic soil (pH6.5).They must be planted in a sunny location of at least 8 hours of direct sunlight. Plant in groups of three of one kind on spacing of 11/2-3 feet. Plant ramblers and climbers 18 inches from a wall or fence.
PLANTING: These roses like a well drained, rich organic soil with a slightly acidic soil (pH6.5).They must be planted in a sunny location of at least 8 hours of direct sunlight. Plant in groups of three of one kind on spacing of 11/2-3 feet. Plant ramblers and climbers 18 inches from a wall or fence.
FERTILIZING: Feed with a regular rose food in early spring and after the first flush of flowers. In late autumn after the ground has frozen crust mulch the roses with manure.
DISEASE AND INSECTS: David Austin roses have all the usual need for the control of black spot, mildew, and insects. Spray at the first signs of either.

FLOWER SHAPES

 

ENGLISH ROSES

William Shakespeare 2000: The best crimson Austin rose. It is a rich crimson turning purple. It is deep cupped at first opening to a shallow quartered cup with an Old Rose fragrance. The growth is bushy. Excellent disease resistance. 4ft X 3 ft.
Crocus Rose: Free flowering large bush with arching branches. The flowers are rosette-cupped flowers in soft apricot paling to cream and finishing up reflexed. Their fragrance is that of Tea roses. 4 ft. X 3 ft. 
James Galway: Large shrub with arching branches that are almost thornless The flowers are large full with a warm pink center, light pink outer petals and a delicious Old Rose fragrance. 5 ft. X 3.5ft.Will easily reach 10 as a climber. Celebrates flautist James Galway's 60th birthday.
Miss Alice: Short and bushy rose that is good for bedding. The flowers are 3 1/2 inches across a soft pink and the outer petals turning pale pink. They have an Old Rose fragrance and some hint of Lily of the Valley.  3 ft. X2 ft. Named for Miss Alice de Rothschild.

FOR MORE ON DAVID AUSTIN ROSES

PICTURES COURTESY OF DAVID AUSTIN ROSES

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