My most beloved English Garden Rose varieties are undoubtedly those bred by the great rosarian, David Austin and no bridal bouquet is without them when they are in season. I can't quite decide on a favourite as there are in fact over 230 Austin cultivars to choose from. Whether it's the gorgeous blushing pink Wedgewood or Scepter'd Isle with its powerful myrrh fragrance or the beautiful Teasing Georgia, with its rich yellow, rosette-shaped blooms and lovely, strong tea fragrance, all my Austin roses bloom prolifically and repeatedly throughout Spring and Summer, even into Autumn adding a splash of colour and sense of elegant romance to my Sydney garden.
David Charles Henshaw Austin was born on 16 February 1926, making him exactly, to the day, 40 years older than my sweetheart. David Austin lives in Shropshire, England and his passion over the past 60 years has been to breed roses with the character and fragrance of old garden roses but with the repeat-flowering ability and wide colour range of modern roses.
In October this year, the Daily Mail UK described David who turned 90 in February as the "Godfather of the English Rose". During the Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year, he had a chat with another famous nonagenarian, Queen Elizabeth II. She has an Austin Rose dedicated to her and it is aptly decribed as a rose with "numerous clear pink, globular flowers on long, upright stems. Prominent. Indestructible."
David, like me, has difficulty choosing favourites, but when pressed he said he has a weakness for the stunning white 'Claire Austin' named after his daughter and he considers the pink ‘Olivia Rose Austin’, named after his granddaughter as one of the best he's ever bred.
The official David Austin site (http://www.davidaustinroses.co.uk) describes the achievement of this legendary rose genius in a few humble sentences:
"In the early 1950s David Austin set out to create a more beautiful rose. Sixty years on, this simple objective remains.
From a hobby breeder as a young teenager, David Austin has gone on to breed a collection of roses renowned across the world.
Rose breeding is often described as being as much an art as a science.
All David Austin roses have a collective style and reflect one man’s vision. All have beautiful blooms and in most cases wonderful fragrance held on graceful attractive shrubs. A garden of these outstanding roses is hard to beat for sheer exuberance of flower and fragrance.
Today, David Austin Roses remains a family business. David Austin has been joined by his son David and his grandson, Richard."
Please take a cyber tour https://www.facebook.com/davidaustinroses/ of the plant centre and gardens and if you're actually ever in the very fortunate position to be in the Bowling Green Lane, Albrighton, Wolverhampton area, don't miss the opportunity to wander through the 2 acres of pure heaven, enjoy a stylish afternoon High Tea served on David Austin tea wear and take the time to stop and smell the roses....