It’s so fitting that one of the next roses to open up in our garden this spring is ‘The Endeavour’ rose, as the Endeavour space shuttle, after 123 million miles and over 25 flights, just completed her final mission. Both ‘The Endeavour’ rose (a David Austin creation) and the Endeavour space shuttle were named for the first ship commanded by 18th century British explorer James Cook, (hence the British spelling.) As “Cook discovered New Zealand, surveyed Australia and navigated the Great Barrier Reef” (source), it’s also fitting that this rose was originally suited for Australia’s hot/dry climate and was only recently made available to the United States in 2010.
Like so many of Austin’s English Roses, ‘The Endeavour’ exhibits the classic, old garden rose form and scent but, unlike it’s predecessors, has repeat bloom. Appearing first as a deep pink with salmon overtones, the rose changes over to a dusky mauve-pink. The reverse is just as lovely with a golden petal base blending into to pink tips. Each flower contains approximately 50 petals and has the classic double, slightly quartered, rosette form. With a height of about 4 feet at maturity, ‘The Endeavour’ is hardy to USDA zone 6b through 9b but prefers warmer, drier climates.
Our ‘The Endeavour’ rose succumbed to a nasty case of black spot this spring, which I can only attribute to our weeks of rain that we had recently. Last summer, when we were in drought conditions, ‘The Endeavour’ did beautifully, but this season, I have plucked so many diseased leaves from it’s base it’s practically a skeleton. After it completes this first flush of blooms, I will prune it hard to encourage lush new growth and blooms. This is something that these modern roses appreciate, unlike true old garden roses which, for the most part, should only be pruned to shape and removed dead/diseased canes. These newer shrub roses will put forth another flush of blooms later in the summer if they are pruned after their first initial flowering.
Like all roses, David Austin’s ‘The Endeavour’ will perform better if given plenty of organic material, such as well rotted manure (I’m a fan of composted cow manure) and compost to grow in. Plenty of sun (morning sun and afternoon shade is best), ample watering and excellent drainage is also important as well as a generous supply of nutrients throughout the growing season. Since Endeavour appears to be susceptible to fungal diseases in more humid climates like mine in Central PA, good air circulation and regular maintenance is very important.
In our garden, Endeavour’s blossoms transition from a warm, salmon-pink to a dusky-mauve as they open.
Our ‘The Endeavor rose’, as well as our other David Austin roses, are planted in large 15+ gallon containers which I’ve arranged in somewhat of a circle so I can sit amongst them and enjoy their beauty and scent at eye-level. This is my favorite place in the garden, and if you were to visit me in the morning, you would find me there with my cup of coffee in one hand and my favorite pruners in the other. ‘The Endeavour’ is suited for container growing as it’s size can be managed with judicial pruning. Throughout the growing season, water levels should be checked regularly as containers can dry out quickly, and as the roots cannot “search” for nutrients in the soil as they would if planted in the ground, care should be taken that they receive plenty of nutrients during the growing season. Colder climates, like ours, might require the pots to be moved into a sheltered location, such as a garage, to protect during the winter months. Although probably best suited to drier climates, ‘The Endeavour’ is a worthwhile rose to grow, and in spite of it’s setbacks, the blossoms and form are so lovely I’m delighted to have it included in our rose garden.
EDIT: By the end of last summer, ‘The Endeavour’ was practically lost to us. In fact, it looked like it had died completely, so I allowed the Wave petunia that was underplanting it to take over and engulf this roses’s skeletal remains. The funny thing was, after the first hard frost, and I cut the petunias back, I saw that ‘The Endeavour’ was still growing, and was actually making a comeback! A hard rose to kill? We’ll see what happens next spring!