New roses from David Austin for 2013
British rose breeder David Austin introduces six new English roses for 2013.
When I’m giving a lecture on roses, I often begin by telling the audience my presentation could be hazardous to their health.Skip to next paragraph
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You see, I know better than most that once "rose fever" sets in, there is no cure. No matter how many roses one has, there will always be a more appealing one coming up in next year's gardening catalogs.
Which means rose fever can also be hazardous to the pocketbook.
As a result of a hybridizing program initiated in the 1950s, he captured the appealing features of Old Garden Roses (roses introduced prior to 1867) such as cupped or rosette-shaped flowers and strong fragrance in bushes that have the repeat bloom and vigor of modern roses.
So before the new catalogs arrive, I am giving my pocketbook fair warning – I’ve had a sneak peek at the new US introductions, and they all look like keepers.
Years in the making
When I visited the David Austin nursery in Britain few years ago, I was able to take a tour of the entire operation. It was fascinating to see greenhouse after greenhouse filled with seedlings and cuttings in various stages of development.
Every year, 150,000 pollen crosses are made by hand, which will produce around 400,000 seeds. These seeds are planted after being chilled in a cooler for three months.
Approximately 250,000 of those seeds will germinate, and the resulting plants that grow from them are evaluated over a period of years for beauty, character, fragrance, diversity of bloom, disease resistance, and potential for use in flower arrangements. Nine years later, only four to six of the original 250,000 plants will make it into commerce.
Here is the class of 2013:
Wollerton Old Hall
Wollerton Old Hall has an intense myrrh fragrance and is said to be one of the most strongly scented of all English roses. The blooms are a soft cream with hints of peach [see photo above]. The bush has few thorns and produces an abundance of flowers over a long blooming season.
Named to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Hatfield House, the home of Lady (and Lord) Salisbury in Hertfordshire, England, this new rose boasts Old World charm and makes an excellent cut flower. The sugary pink rosettes and matte green foliage are reminiscent of the Alba roses, but flower continuously until frost.
The Lady’s Blush
A perfect candidate for a mixed border, this Lady sports pure soft pink blossoms, a creamy white eye, and unusually attractive golden stamens.