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English Roses

By Joyce Dillon

 Garden roses consist of two very different groups, which are usually described as the Old Garden Roses and the Modern Roses. Old roses were introduce before 1900 The OGR's have been with us for centuries, starting in the Middle East and spreading to Greece and  later to Rome and then to Europe. David Austin bred a new race of roses called the English Rose. These are the result of crossing the Old Roses with the Modern Hybrid Teas and Floribundas. He believed that if he could take chosen factors from each, a new rose might be born. Old Rose of great beauty and fragrance were chosen to cross with the Hybrid Teas and Floribundas for their reliable repeat flowering and range of colors.

 David Austin has hybridized some outstanding English Roses that mix well with the OGR's and other plants. One of the many pleasures of growing English Roses is their compatibility, like that of Old Roses to mix with other garden plants.

  Belle Story which most everyone is familiar with looks great with red and pink Dianthus planted at her feet. The Prince opens as a deep crimson and then turns to a rich royal purple. Has the true look of an Old Garden rose. The Dark Lady was a real fuller for me the first  blooms (and there were a lot of them) were more like the color of Perfume Delight. The 2nd blooming they are dusky crimson and have the Old garden rose form. They open flat then re-curving a little. They have a strong old rose fragrance. This bush is a very heavy  bloomer. I like the Austin roses very much and have added several to my garden this year. Interplant with Rosemary, Dill, Summer Petunia and Lambs Ears for the English Garden look try adding a few Butterfly bushes they come in purple, white pink and yellow.

 Graham Thomas is not a good bloomer in Florida, but I discovered this after I bought one. This year I bent the canes and tied them to themselves and I have been getting a lot of blooms. Graham Thomas is a beautiful rose if you can manage a way around its stingy  blooming. There is no other yellow rose with such rich yellow coloring. Reminds me of an egg yolk. If you have one and it is blooming poorly try pegging it to itself you will get  more blooms. Shove it in among other roses that are more prolific bloomers and add a few perennials and enjoy.

Potter & Moore this rose is a light shade of rose pink has cupped blooms and great fragrance. True old garden look but it balls in the  rain. The books say it is shorter than the average shrub rose but I don't find this to be true mine is young and about 3 feet tall and growing. It looks great grown with chives and society garlic.

English Gardens bears flowers of perfect Old Rose form. The color is yellow at the center, gradually turning almost white on the outer  pedals. It is a small rose ideal for growing in a pot. Place it where you can see it often it is a beauty. This is one I can highly recommend.

 Abraham Darby one of my favorites for fragrance also classic old rose shape. The beautiful cupped blooms are apricot, with the outer  petals turning pink. All of these rose look good interplanted with purple, white and pink perennials and herbs. Or try growing them in front of climbing roses Jeanne Lajoie, a climbing miniature, Brightside Cream, a Noisette, Zephrine Drouhin, a climbing Bourbon, make good back drops for the English Roses. Zephrine Drouhin is a good grower but a lousy bloomer in my garden.

 English Roses that do well in my garden. Abraham Darby, Belle Story, Dark Lady, Gertrude Jekyll, Heritage, Jude The Obscure, Pat Austin, Potter & Moore, Pretty Jessica, Squire, The Prince and English Gardens and several others.



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page updated: Monday, September 02, 2002