Monday, June 23, 2014

Another golden Chelsea for David Austin English Roses

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. 

But Mr. Austin was not new to Chelsea – in 1983 he unveiled two of his new, old-fashioned “English Roses” to the world, Graham Thomas and Mary Rose.

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.
Olivia Rose Austin
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.
The Lady of the Lake
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.


Sunil Patel said...

Hi Lynn, the David Austin stand is always spectacular and this year it looks stupendous, just look at that rose arch in the entrance! I do have a rose border and other areas for roses ear-marked out in the garden and I can only dream if it coming even slightly close to the quality of the stand they had at Chelsea this year.

Lynn Hunt said...

Sunil, I envy you for seeing this stand in person at Chelsea. I will definitely attend another year and perhaps we can meet there. Knowing you, your roses will look stupendous in time! Can't wait to see all you are planning to do.

Sunil Patel said...

Hi Lynn, I didn't see it in person unfortunately, hopefully, one of these years I will, but I saw the TV coverage where it was featured.

Hoehoegrow said...

They are all on my list - all three look gorgeous in their own way. I find English roses to be pretty healthy anyway (with the exception of 'Charlotte'!!) so the 'Disease free' roses must really be something special.
Lucky you to get the chance to see the stand at Chelsea. We went to the David Austin gardens and Nursery last year and it was a real pilgrimage !

Lynn Hunt said...

Hi Jane! So glad you enjoyed the posting. Sadly I am only enjoying the photos because I wasn't able to attend the actual show this year. Hope to again one day! And those three new beauties won't be available in the US until 2016. I have The Poet's Wife on my wish list!

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