Growing David Austin’s ‘Munstead Wood’ Rose

‘Munstead Wood’ has an incredible, old-rose scent which to me has hints of crushed berries. It is even more fragrant when the blossoms are warmed from the sun.

My ‘Munstead Wood’ rose which I purchased last winter is currently in bloom and I can’t walk past it without pausing to admire the blossoms, in fact, make excuses to go outside just so I can go smell them. The color is remarkably beautiful: a deep, wine-red with hints of amethyst, and each rose is full and lush.

‘Munstead Wood’ bears blossoms sometimes singly and in clusters.

Hybridized by David Austin and introduced in 2007 (2010 in the United States), ‘Munstead Wood’ was named for renowned designer/author Gertrude Jekyll’s garden and home in England. It’s fitting that in our garden, the roses ‘Munstead Wood’ and ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ sit side by side and bloom at the same time.

‘Munstead Wood’ was named for renowned designer/author Gertrude Jekyll’s garden and home in England.

It’s stated that ‘Munstead Wood’ is a mounding, disease-resistant shrub, which can grow to heights of approximately 3 feet. While I cannot confirm claims of it’s height as ours is such a recent introduction to our garden, I can say that so far it is showing resistance to fungal disease, particularly black spot. In our garden, this rose is not a rampant grower. Instead it puts out new growth in a slow, careful fashion on slender canes. Compared to, say, ‘Abraham Darby‘, I want to say, “Hurry it up already!” But in spite of it’s smaller stature and slower growth, it doesn’t skimp on the blooms.

I’m not crazy about how ‘Munstead Wood’ looks in semi-bud stage; for lack of a better description, it appears “messy.”

To me the greatest appeal of ‘Munstead Wood’ is the color of it’s blossoms which are such a heavenly shade of deep, dark, burgundy-red with amethyst overtones. Each rose is sometimes borne singly or in clusters of 2-3 and bears approximately 75 velvety petals. I’m not crazy about how ‘Munstead Wood’ looks in semi-bud stage; for lack of a better description, it appears “messy.” However, as each rose unfurls, the color takes on depth, and the petals form a lovely rosette. When the blossom is completely opened, the petals reflex back to form a rounded, pom-pom shape and in it’s final stage of bloom reveals pale yellow stamens in the center.

Each blossom contains approximately 75 velvety petals in a pretty rosette form.

Of course, we know that David Austin is making a point to breed fragrance back into roses, and ‘Munstead Wood’ is an achievement in that regard; it does not disappoint. ‘Munstead Wood’ has an incredible, old-rose scent which to me has hints of crushed berries. It is even more fragrant when the blossoms are warmed from the sun. Since ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ is placed side-by-side I like to go back and forth between the two enjoying the scent of each trying to decide which one I like more. The neighbors must think I’m crazy.

‘Munstead Wood’ is listed as hardy to zones 6-9. We’re in zone 6, and mine is planted in a container, so I won’t be taking any chances and will be bringing this shrub into the garage for the winter. When we had some 90+ degree days last week with humidity, I was concerned that the blossoms would “ball up” as full roses tend to do, but it did not, so that was a pleasant surprise and another point for vigor. As a matter of fact, although ‘Munstead Wood’ reminds me a lot of ‘Falstaff‘ which I grew in a former garden (another David Austin creation introduced in 1999), ‘Munstead Wood’ has already surpassed it with it’s number of blooms and ability to shake off heat and humidity. I’ve also heard it compared to one of Austin’s earlier creations, ‘William Shakespeare 2000′, calling it every bit as good, but having never grown WS2000, I cannot make that claim. EDIT: I will be growing ‘William Shakespeare 2000′ this spring!

Although the cut flowers do not last long in a vase, ‘Munstead Wood’ smells and looks so lovely you will want to bring them indoors anyways.

‘Munstead Wood’ blooms on new wood so prune early to encourage lush growth with lots of flowering. This rose is listed as having repeat bloom, but having never grown it before I can’t say if the subsequent flushes are as grand as the big show in June. I hope so!

‘Munstead Wood’ postcards are available for purchase in my shop SOLD OUT

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Comments

  1. 1

    says

    This rose is stunning (and so are your pictures)and I am putting it on my list for next year. Wonder how it grows in Zone 5? Thanks for sharing. I can almost smell it from here.

  2. 6

    Kylie says

    I have just bought this rose as a standard,the smell is just divine & the rose is just beautiful..I am going to do a row of them up the side of my new home,I can’t wait :)

    • 9

      says

      Hi Marylou,
      I’m not sure. I purchased these containers at our local Big Lots and they were not marked but if I had to take a guess I would say about 7 gallons. You can see another view of them HERE.

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