Tuesday, August 31, 2010

David Austin Roses...make me swoon everytime!

If you have been following my blog you will recall that I am passionate about roses.
My favourite roses are the David Austin varieties.
Charles Rennie McIntosh

In my early days of gardening back in 1978, I fell head over heels in love with a delicious and highly perfumed mauve rose.
My elderly next door neighbour, a gardener herself, told me it was a Lavender Rose.
(my Royal Albert China shares the same name)
The bush was old and established and was performing beautifully with very little TLC, in fact it had been thriving on neglect.
We were living in a rented home 3 houses from the waterfront at the time. The area was an older section of the city comprised of large roomy Edwardian and Victorian homes.
Most of the gardens were established and well tended.
(our rental was weedy and overgrown)
I did not want to have our patch looking shabby so I was learning all that I could about gardening...the wise advice and encouragement that I received from helpful neighbours really got me enthusiastic about mucking and pottering about in the soil.
I was surprised by the generosity of gardeners, both with their willingness to chat as well as their gifts of cuttings and seedlings.
I am happy to say this hasn't changed over the years!

I have attended many meetings, tours, joined Horticultural Societies and Clubs, read books, attended lectures, and basically jumped in and got dirty.
I am not a neat and tidy gardener, not at all like my former neighbour across the street who I might add...gardened in pearls, wore a straw hat and carried a trug for her freshly picked blooms.
I frequently am hatless, wear serious gardening gloves, am dressed in a casual, but matching, pair of Yoga pants and a jacket. My hair is a bit on the windblown side...that's what happens when you live close to the ocean...and I usually have some dirty smudge on my face!

Often I'll just go out and have a "peek" at how things are doing and end up getting messy...
I have been seen dead heading roses in a white dress wearing heels!

Roses are my greatest love in the garden...
Gertrude Jekyll

I grow them for their perfume...I do not understand why anyone would buy a rose if it lacked fragrance.
I place freshly picked garden roses in vases throughout the Bungalow from May until October.
I prefer the repeat bloomers
they are hardy
and reliable.

Roses are heavy feeders and like lots of water.
I use aged manure and I'll occasionally dig banana skins near the roots of the roses.

Epsom salts work well too.

An award winning local grower swears by Rabbit food sprinkled once a month during blooming season!
(I think my local raccoons would be dining well if I followed that regime)

I won Best Rose in Show one year at our local Horticultural Event with a Peace Rose bloom.
No one was more surprised than I was... gobsmacked indeed.
I had the honour of having my name engraved on a silver rose bowl and was able to keep the bowl in my home until the next year, when someone else won the title!
Alas that rose bush is no longer with us, it grew gnarled and woody and was hit very hard by a cold snowy winter. It was a star performer and gave me many years of lovely blooms.

I also love being able to take bouquets with me when I am an invited guest in someone's home.
I buy vases at Thrift Shops and save them for the very purpose of having pre-arranged flowers so the hostess merely needs to find a spot to set them down.

My thoughts are running amuck and I have been quite abstract tangental...apologies forthwith!

Do you have a favourite rose?
Is it scented?
What is the colour of the bloom?


  1. Dear Hostess, I do so agree with you here on everything which you say about roses. I should never wish my garden to be without them. The David Austin cultivars are excellent, but for choice I favour the very old fashioned, highly scented shrub roses. Now, I note from what you say, another use for Epsom Salts - I shall need to buy them in wholesale.

    What a lovely idea to take roses to friends ready placed in a container. I shall copy that too!

  2. Leslie, how thoughtful you are to hunt out thrifted vases and take them along filled. I too love scented roses - the headier the better. The ones you have photographed are beautiful.

  3. You have the best roses!!!!! I love Peace and Mr Lincoln both Meilland roses (I like Papa Meilland too). I have zero sun so don't do that well with roses, but if I got a garden with less shade I would go crazy! My mum grows Zepherine Drouphin (old rose bred in 1800s)which is my favourite rose ever plus I like Julia's rose a sort of brown paper bag rose. I've grown roses from cuttings and I agree-Gardeners are the most generous souls. I've had nil luck with the David Austins in my tropical climate.

    I am very jealous of your divine blooms.

    Loving your blog as always L xxx

  4. hi leslie,

    it is imposssible for me to name a favorite. my favorite leans towards the one that is outproducing it's neighbor. all my roses here are very, very old. it's a miracle they produce at all. very few have their tags on so most i can't identify even if i wanted to. gardeners are a sweet bunch for sure.


  5. Dear Hostess,
    one of the roses I love best is Gertrude Jekyll, too (and I love the stern no-nonsense-writing of Gertrude, very helpful!), but also a lot of very old French roses, that only bloom once a year - but such a treat is worth the waiting. But I have to confess: I love the little dog rose, too. Simplicity and style - in her way. As you I cannot stand roses that do not smell (and I do not like the attempts to grow blue roses - why?)
    Au reservoir!, as Lucia said. Britta

  6. Great rose post....David Austin roses are my favorites as well!
    Happy day!

  7. Do not apologise! I loved this post. Remembering my paternal grandmother's garden - full of beautiful roses. The only time I ever saw her in pants was when she was working in the garden at 6:30 am.

    Alas, my yard is small and I have only one struggling rose bush. Perhaps I should take an interest and find a spot for some other small rose bushes.

  8. I know practically nothing about roses, and am impressed by your knowledge and interest in them. Right now small white/dark red roses would fill my needs, as I have only the two permanent vases.

  9. I enjoy the beauty of roses but know very little about them and the care involved. I especially like the climbing roses...maybe old English cottage style would describe them???

    We live a few miles from the Rose Garden in Fort Wayne, IN. It is always a delight to walk around this park. The roses are labeled and well kept! It is the site of many weddings - next spring, my niece's for one!

    What a lovely thing you do, gifting others with roses from your garden.

  10. Edith Hope-Epsom salts in bulk is such a great idea...if you can find them wholesale so much better!

    Fiona-I read somewhere that it was polite to send flowers ahead of an event so the hostess has time to prearrange them...but I usually take them with me...I do have friends who are happy if I arrange them in their homes using their vases also.

    Faux Fuchsia-I have had the occasion to sniff the heady Zepherine and she is lovely! I am not familiar with Julia's paper bag rose...need to find out more!
    Thank you for commenting, I love your blog too!

    The Gardener's cottage-I am not at all surprised that your roses thrive...your TLC and water of course!

    Britta-Blue roses? Never!

    Rust and Ruffles-Our climate seems to keep the David Austen's very happy, we are fortunate in that.

    Northmoon-Sprinkle the base of the rose with some epsom salts and water them in well, only do this once a month in the summer months and see if the rose performs better.

    metscan-Your large fields would suit those rambling types of roses...the ones that grow tall and flower profusely...not too sure what Zone Finland might be but if you did some research you would certainly find some roses suitable...should you desire to pop out and pick some of your own!

    Rebecca-Climbing roses are charming...very abundant in cottage themed gardens. I find the library and the internet such great sources for information on roses should you want to cultivate some of your own.