By Stan V. Griep
American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian – Rocky Mountain District
There are old garden roses, English roses and likely old English roses. Perhaps some light should be shed on these roses to help understand more about them.
What are Old English Roses?
The roses referred to as English roses are often called Austin roses or David Austin roses. These rose bushes were introduced around 1969 with the introduction of rose bushes named Wife of Bath and Canterbury. Two of Mr. Austin’s rose bushes named Mary Rose and Graham Thomas were introduced in Chelsea, (West London, England) in 1983 and seemed to spark popularity for his English roses in that country as well as the rest of the world. I can certainly understand why, as my Mary Rose rose bush is a sweetheart of a rose in my rose beds and one I would not be without.
Mr. Austin wanted to create rose bushes that would combine the best elements of the old roses (those introduced before 1867) and the modern roses (Hybrid Teas, Floribundas and Grandifloras). To do this, Mr. Austin crossed the old roses with some of the modern roses to gain a repeat flowering rose bush that also had the wonderful strong fragrances of the old roses. Mr. Austin was truly successful at what he desired to accomplish. He brought forth many David Austin English rose bushes that have wonderful, strong fragrances as well as coming in the most delightful of colors. Very hardy rose bushes they are as well.
Many rose loving gardeners today love to plant these fine English roses in their rose beds and gardens. They truly add a special beauty to any rose bed, garden or landscape of which they are a part.
The David Austin English roses carry the beautiful old rose-type blooms with that old-fashioned look to them. In another article I have written, I went over some of the types of Old Garden roses. These roses are indeed some of the ones Mr. Austin used to cross with the modern roses to come up with his outstanding English roses.
So you see, roses referred to as Old English roses are actually the Old Garden roses (Gallicas, Damasks, Portlands & Bourbons) and are those seen in many of those beautiful vintage paintings of roses and rose gardens — the very paintings that stir the romantic feelings within each of us.
List of David Austin English Rose Bushes
Some of the beautiful and very fragrant David Austin English rose bushes available today are:
Rose Bush Name – Color of Blooms
- Mary Rose Rose – Pink
- Crown Princess Margareta Rose – Rich Apricot
- Golden Celebration Rose – Deep Yellow
- Gertrude Jekyll Rose – Deep Pink
- The Generous Gardener Rose – Light Pink
- Lady Emma Hamilton Rose – Rich Orange
- Evelyn Rose – Apricot & Pink