I attended the Chelsea Flower Show in May 1991. That year, a Silver Medal was awarded to a garden called Gothic Retreat. If I saw it, the plants and design have completely slipped my mind. You see, I was so gobsmacked by the enormity of the show and the variety of blooms, I didn’t know which way to turn.
|I trained Cottage Rose as a climber|
That year a hybridizer named David Austin introduced three roses I later grew in my Maryland garden. Cottage Rose, The Dark Lady and Evelyn remain among my favorites.
The rest, as they say, is history.
This year David Austin English Roses secured an 18th Gold Medal in the Great Pavilion awards. Their team of eight worked for five days to prepare the display in the main marquee. Those readers who recall my posting about the 2013 Austin stand may not believe it, but this year’s presentation was even more stunning.
As a bonus, this year’s show was a family affair.
David Austin Senior, David Austin Junior and his son Richard were on hand to celebrate the award. In addition, one of the 2014 Chelsea introductions is named Olivia Rose Austin after David Junior’s 19-year-old daughter.
Because the variety is named for a family member, it had to be something special. Olivia is the first offering in their disease-free line and has been in development for almost ten years. The rose features soft pink rosette blooms and a fruity fragrance. The Austin folks believe it might be their best rose to date.
A second introduction, The Poet’s Wife has really caught my eye. Technical Manager Michael Marriott says it is a rare color in the David Austin pastel palette – an unfading rich yellow. It is a low grower, ideal for the front of the border. The fragrance is described as lemony, becoming sweeter and stronger with age.
|The Poet's Wife|
The final new rose to make its debut is The Lady of the Lake, only the fourth rambler to be added to the English Rose collection. It promises to grow 10 to 12 feet or more with long, slender, flexible canes. Unlike many ramblers, it repeat flowers throughout the summer and boasts a fresh citrus scent.
So there you have it. All the beauty of Chelsea, and all the beauty to come with three new David Austin roses.
I am checking now to see if they will be available here in 2015. Hope so.
I already have The Poet’s Wife at the top on my must have list.