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David Austin Roses, are they worth it?



  • Lou12Lou12 Posts: 1,149

    I must be thinking of another one then Aster, can't remember the name now, it's a lovely shade of orange and a climber - will have to go back to the catalogue.

  • MeomyeMeomye Posts: 722

    Could someone please give me some tips on how to look after roses? I have a few DA's and others including patio's but I never get many flowers on any of them, (some none at all)  image I love them but can't seem to grow them despite my efforts, yet people that just 'let them get on with it' get better results than me.  I have chalky soil is that a bad thing?

    PS. I noticed the recent thread about 'unions' and mine are above the soil. Is this a problem? Sorry for so many questions. image 

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 17,522

    Roses are hungry and thirsty and chalky soil is usually poor and dry. I have limestone, roses need a lot of feeding and watering, but I grow them in big pots too. I had acid clay when I lived in Kent and they did very well with less care.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • I have had several DA roses and yes you do pay a premium for this but you are paying for roses with an established genetic heritage which goes back a long time to strong performing plants.

    That said, its how you look after them and manage them as to how they perform. Most plants need 2-3 years to bed down in the environment that you have put them in. If all the conditions are right, that's everything from soil and roots through to air temperature (as this affects scent) then there should not be any problems.

    Personally, I don't like to buy bare root plants as I like to see the plant that I am buying and to be able to make that choice is paramount.

    I planted new DA roses which were Munsted Wood, Lady Emma Hamilton, Jude the Obscure and Darcy Bussell last year, they did fine but I am not expecting them to come into there best till this summer at the earliest. Soil prep and correct pruning has to happen till then.


  • The key is to shop around- full price, they are a bit steep if you plan to grow on more than one plant. While I am a bargain hunter, it is worth bearing in mind though that some considerable effort has gone into developing the David Austin rose breeds. They specialise in English roses, which are basically the result of crossing the older species roses (Albas, Gallicas, Damasks, etc.) with hybrid teas- this is a large part of the considerable effort of which I spoke.

    I have a few and I have no regrets with Lady Emma Hamilton and Boscobel, both of which have STUNNING fragrances and are just gorgeous to look at! Brother Cadfael is also wonderful. My Winchester Cathedral is pleasant enough but a medium fragrance and susceptible to rain.

    If it must be David Austin, you can wait until your garden centre has a sale or go on the last day of one of the RHS flower shows- David Austin usually has a large display there and they sell off everything at discount prices at the end. If you wait until after a certain time, there is free entry to sell off all the vendors' displayed stock but be warned- it is a bit chaotic! Also, people will have been on a numbered list to purchase certain species, so the ones you want MAY not be available...

    If you are not wedded to DA, the world is your oyster. I have used Stakehill nurseries ( with superb results and their current 33% off sale is not to be missed. The hybrid teas are also very worth the effort- I can vouch for 'The Anniversary Rose' and 'Chandos Beauty', both of which can be found at very reasonable prices, have PHENOMENAL fragrances, stunning foliage and are very healthy.

    If you wish to explore the older species roses, this website is an excellent repository list, with some adequate descriptions: . I cannot comment on the quality of their products as I have never purchased from them.

    As usual, browse your local nurseries and garden centres. I was at my local Notcutts yesterday and found a lovely Damask rose Jacques Cartier specimen that was reduced to £5!! It is in great condition and as Damasks are the species most popularly used to extract rose essential oil (rose attar), I am looking forward to the fragrance of the blooms!

  • rose loverose love Posts: 1

    I mean like, it depends on the person, if you absolutely adore your roses at the priciest, most gorgeous healthiest state, like me; probably yes! But if not, then no!

  • B3B3 Posts: 20,024

    Tess of the D'Urbervilles is a beautiful rose but, as it matures, the flowers get bigger and they are too heavy for the stem. For this reason, it cannot cope with rain.

    Last week, despite the fact it was covered in blooms, they were ruined by the rain. I know it was particularly bad this year, but it didn't fare too well last year either.

    I have pruned it right back and will plant it  out somewhere sheltered  to live or die.

    The DA roses that I have bought seem to be prima donnas. Maybe I have been unlucky, but I find that I do better with other roses from reputable growers.

    Last edited: 25 June 2016 23:29:25

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • AnomanderAnomander Posts: 88

    By the way, if you can wait until the next bare root season (November to March), I have tried Trevor White's Old Fashioned Roses and I can thoroughly recommend them: !! The specimens are SUPERB and the descriptions are simply precious!

  • TootsietimTootsietim Posts: 178

    Personally I'm not a huge fan of D A roses, though Gertrude Jekyll and Graham Thomas both do well for me. I'm not keen on the myrrh scent.

    I'm lucky to have a small nursery nearby in Norfolk that stocks bare rooted roses from Trevor Whites ( oldroses ) for very competitive prices. I most recently bought La Rose De Molinard which smells divine.

  • AnomanderAnomander Posts: 88

    Oh YES Tootsietim!!! I have two Rose De Mollinard plants and the fragrance is divine! It is a Delbard rose I believe. I must admit that after planting them and seeing their performance, I now much prefer the Delbard and Meilland French roses to DA.

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