Sunday, August 02, 2009

Ask Heirloom Gardener: How to care for David Austin Roses

Question from the mailbag (heirloomgardener [at] aol [dot] com): I read your post about how to care for heirloom roses. Does this apply to David Austin roses?

Answer from Heirloom Gardener: Yes, everything I wrote in my post about how to care for heirloom roses applies to David Austin roses. They are stronger than hybrid tea roses, not as strong as heirloom roses, but have the benefit of fragrance and repeat blooms. Relative to heirloom roses, here are some of my observations.

1. They all need a lot of water and very rich soil.

2. Because they were developed in the more moderate English climate, I have observed a few differences in their growth habit in New Jersey: they grow taller than stated on the plant tag, so I locate them in areas to accommodate the extra height; they are leggier, so I grow them in groups; and the summer is sunnier and hotter here, so they are healthier for me in part shade.

3. Some are better than others as it relates to health and vigor. In my experience, the best are: Graham Thomas, Heritage (pictured above), Abraham Darby, Sophie's Rose and Mary Rose. Mary Rose is a sport of Winchester Cathedral, so my assumption is that Winchester Cathedral is as healthy as Mary Rose. I grew Mayflower which was healthy, but be warned that rain spoils the flowers. I also grow Molineaux because it is beautiful, but it requires a lot more coddling. I grew other David Austin roses that were less healthy, so I removed them from the garden.

Related posts: How to Care for Heirloom Roses; Are Heirloom Roses Hard to Grow?; Six Trouble-Free Heirloom Roses


Janet said...

I love the fragrance of David Austen roses, but am lazy about TLC with any roses.

Basil Becky said...

It has been a tough summer for roses in Kentucky. Just too much rain. Some of my David Austin's are great, but other so so... I guess I will just have to wait for a more normal summer to make up my mind on them. Thank you for the great information.

mothernaturesgarden said...

Sad to say I gave up on roses long ago. I enjoyed all my attempts however. Because of it, I enjoy yours all the more.

VW said...

After dealing with rose virus (in a new plant), rose curculios, thrips, aphids, spider mites, powdery mildew and numerous other rose-leaf-devouring insects this year, I had decided that maybe I have enough english roses for now! The TLC is a lot.

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