The majority of my David Austin Roses have not even completed their first season and the results have been spectacular. With a little bit of tender loving care each week they have flourished and bloomed and I have not had one single failure from my 2021 order. The only ones that have struggled are the ones that were shipped late in the season and arrived a little dried out. I’m waiting to see what happens to them before opting for replacements.
Just to recap what David Austin Roses are:
David Austin started breeding roses in the 1950’s for both appearance and fragrance. Many of the hybrid roses you see today lack that rich myrrh scent. A majority of David Austin breed roses have strong scents and sturdy stems for arrangements.
when you walk through the garden after a fresh rainfall you will smell the roses over anything else in the garden. It’s a fragrance that truly fills the air.
Asking me to pick a favorite David Austin Rose is like asking me which child I like better. They’re all unique and special in their own way. Each one has different petal characteristics and scents. I ordered over thirty roses for spring and while it was difficult, I narrowed it down to my top three roses from this order.
- Scepter’d Isle Bare Root Rose – I loved this rose so much that I ordered three of them. The flowers resemble peonies when they’re in full bloom but bloom and bloom as much as I deadhead them. The scent is a strong myrrh and was introduced in 1996. I have had blooms about the size of my fist.
- Jude the Obscure Bare Root Rose – I chose this rose because on the website it looks very yellow but mine have proven to be more of an apricot hue. This rose smells strongly of citrus and was introduced in 1995. I like the way it pops against the pink and fuchsia hues of my other roses.
- James L. Austin – Ruffles are the first thing that comes to mind when I cut this rose for bouquets. It looks like ruffles piled on top of ruffles and has a deep fuchsia color that reminds me of the more old school type roses. This rose is not as strongly scented as the other but still has a faint fruit fragrance. It was introduced in 2017.
I don’t have any least favorite roses and I’m being honest when I say I truly love them all. Each one in my main rose garden has performed exceptionally well. I will say there are a few tips and tricks and obstacles to overcome to keep these babies blooming all summer long. NOTE: I chose only varieties that have continuous blooms, there are some varieties that bloom once or twice a season. When you are ordering the description should read “repeat flowering”
Tips to keep your repeat flowering roses blooming:
- DEADHEAD you will want to continually remove the spent blooms from the rose bush. It will signal to the plant that it’s time to put more energy into producing more flowers. The more you deadhead, the more your roses will bloom.
- Stay on top of pests. I have had three mortal enemies when it came to my roses this year. Japanese Beetles, Cucumber Beetles and Aphids. Earlier in the spring I had aphids almost strip my roses bare of leaves. I did some research and ordered Lacewing fly larve that came on little cards that I hung on each rose bush. I never had another issue with Aphids the rest of the season. Japanese and Cucumber Beetles though were another beast. I had to constantly use Captain Jacks Japanese Beetle spray. It was one of the least harmful sprays I could find. I am not an organic gardener but I do my best to balance things out with production and pollinators.
- Feed me Seymour. Anybody a little shop of horrors fan? Now that that song is stuck in our heads, feeding your roses on a regular schedule is well worth your time. I used both Bio Advanced and Great Big Roses and like the results I got. While the Great Big Roses was a little more time consuming to apply, it was worth the effort for big healthy blooms. Also, have no fear, the Great Big Roses does not smell as bad as it looks.
So are David Austin Roses worth it? Are they worth all of the hype and hoopla on the internet. I can say with 100% certainty yes. They are absolutely stunning, minimal maintenance and the blooms are quite impressive. I’m already creating a wish list for a few other varieties I would like to add to the garden. Just… don’t tell Joe yet.