Thursday, January 14, 2021

On your marks, get set...order!

Took this photo February 19, 2020. Who knew what was coming?
Last April during the Covid lockdown I was having a hard time finding any decent basil at the grocery store. No problem! I'll order some seeds and grow my own! I might just as well have tried to order the Hope Diamond. Seeds at my favorite vendors like Renee’s Garden Seeds were sold out. Even the off-brand packets at discount stores were long gone. It appears I was about three weeks too late.

Luckily my friend Ann in Pinehurst mailed me a few from her supply, and I was able to grow six plants. I assumed those days were over and that there would be plenty of seeds and plants to meet demand in 2021. It’s possible I was wrong again.

Nothing like fresh, homegrown basil!

According to a recent article in The Washington Post, seed supplies this season are expected to run low. And Rebecca Koraytem, U.S. Sales Executive for David Austin Roses Ltd., suggests 2021 is definitely a year for getting organized early: "Whether you're considering online purchases of soil amendments, tools, vegetable and flowers seeds or bare root roses, be aware that mail-order demand is through the roof.”

 Research conducted by Bonnie Plants found that America's gardening population soared to 63 million last year, as 20 million new people started digging gardening. As a result, says Koraytem, "garden retailers are bracing for a wild ride this spring. Stocks will deplete. With home now the multi-function work / school hub for the family, the garden has become the multi-function oasis for exercise, escape, and food and flowers."

Not to mention peace of mind. When folks ask how I’m doing, I tell them my rose garden and my camera are keeping me sane. 

So, I was excited to learn that this week, David Austin English Roses announced their new introductions for 2021. Both are named after Thomas Hardy characters.

'Eustacia Vye' has been huge success in the UK (courtesy David Austin)
‘Eustacia Vye’ is a lovely light pink with an apricot center. It features delicately ruffled petals and intoxicating fruity fragrance. (I think I am going to love this one because the beautiful ruffled petals have made ‘James Galway’ my favorite English rose.)

My fave, 'James Galway'

‘Gabriel Oak’ bears many petaled rosette blooms in a striking shade of deep pink. I have yet to see this variety in person, but fans in England report the outer petals of each bloom pale slightly over time. It boasts dark green foliage and mulberry purple stems. It is also extremely fragrant. Some think it may be the finest English rose ever!

Gabriel Oak (courtesy David Austin)

But if either one of these roses strikes your fancy, you’d better strike while the iron is hot. I’ve read ‘Eustacia Vye’ was so popular, David Austin ran out of bare root and potted roses in the UK back in the spring of 2019. It is expected to turn many heads here, too.

For the past two years I have been growing another of the David Austin’s varieties named for literary characters. ‘Emily Bronte’ is a vigorous rose with distinctive flowers that start out peachy pink and fade to light pink. Blooms open to reveal apricot petals surrounding a button eye. I highly recommend it.

 'Emily Bronte'

Something else I would highly recommend is the David Austin Rose Food. I have been using it in my garden for two years and I believe it has made a huge difference in the number of blooms and the overall health of the plants.

'Emily' showing off in just her second year

While we’re talking about David Austin and his roses, I must say a word about my old and dear friend Michael Marriott. I first met Michael in 1998 when I was invited to visit the nursery after writing an article about English Roses for Fine Gardening. Mr. Austin, Sr. was kind enough to give me a tour of his entire operation.


Michael at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Michael was senior rosarian of David Austin Roses for 35 years. I hope many of you have had a chance to meet him and hear his wonderful lectures on roses and designing rose gardens. He has just announced his retirement but will continue with personal design projects and consulting.

So Happy Retirement, my friend. Thank you for your friendship and for all the wonderful English roses you have helped send across the pond over the years.

'St. Swithun'

'Crocus Rose'

'Lady Emma Hamilton'

‘Eustacia Vye’ and ‘Gabriel Oak’ sound like hot new additions. And it looks like they will be going like hotcakes.





Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

These roses make me swoon. I love a fragrant full petaled rose and these David Austin roses are superb.

Dproulx said...

Beautiful photos and so wonderfully written as always! I learn so much every time you post something new! ❤️

Lynn Hunt said...

I can't wait to get mine. The colors and all those ruffled petals make me swoon as well!

Lynn Hunt said...

Unknown, thank you so very much for your kind comments. So glad you are enjoying the postings!!

Unknown said...

Getting started early is definitely key to a successful season. Now's the time to start your seedlings for real home grown food and flowers for decorating your favorite spaces.

Lynn Hunt said...

Unknown, my husband has his seeds, soil and lights out and is raring to go!!

Sunil Patel said...

Hello Lynn, it's the same here too, the number of people turning to gardening or deciding to "tackle their plot" due to lockdown skyrocketed and suddenly seeds were scarce, delivery slots were even rarer. It's great to have a swath of people getting interested in gardening and nature though so I'm not complaining!

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