Shopping for David Austin Roses…Help me decide?

The thick, heavy white envelope arrived in my mailbox and I knew exactly what it was–the new David Austin rose catalog for spring. My day immediately improved and I couldn’t wait to sit down and pore over it’s glossy pages filled with gorgeous, rose flavored eye candy. (My mother laughed when I told her I wanted to lick the pages but I wasn’t kidding.) Boy was I surprised to find there was an envelope tucked inside with rose dollars!! A gift to me from my family who know me all too well. So now I need your help because these gift certificates are burning a hole in my pocket. Which roses should I choose? Do you have a favorite Austin? I am only certain about one of them, ‘Wisley 2008’ and I’m also strongly leaning towards ‘Teasing Georgia’ but I can be dissuaded. Please give me your suggestions…keeping in mind that blackspot is the bane of our existence here. So, is there anything better than rose shopping? Yes there is: GUILT FREE rose shopping!
PS: In case you’re interested, here is a list of the roses we already have and I also want to mention that if you are sending a David Austin gift certificate to someone, warn them that they should check the inside of the catalog because I almost didn’t see it tucked in there!

13 thoughts on “Shopping for David Austin Roses…Help me decide?

  1. Roseraie de L’hay – Teresa, @agardendiary, had pictures of that on her site. It is so beautiful. I had to have one. The thorns are fierce, but the plant is incredible. I only got a few blooms (too hot, too young, pot too small) – but the blackspot thing caught my eye. I neglected my JPIIs a bit towards what should have been the end of the season. They have blackspot pretty bad. But the de L’hay is spotless. And the autumn color is gorgeous orangey-yellow leaves holding on strong. I’ll be clipping nearly all the leaves off the John Paul II’s but none off Roseraie. I can’t swear it’s resistant, but it’s sure looking like it. Just saying.

    1. Thank you for the tip, Jeavonna! Roseraie de L’hay isn’t an Austin, but it has been on my radar for a little while now. It truly is a beauty and hearing your fine report of it definitely puts it higher up on the list. 🙂

    1. Chris, so funny that you should mention that rose because I was just looking at photos of Wollerton’s gardens. Maybe it’s meant to be. 😉 Thank you so much for your suggestion!

  2. Rose dollars!!! Who knew? What a great gift! Of course I have to contribute an answer to your question. If you want a compact Austin with great blackspot resistance and a fantastic fragrance (and you really don’t mind thorns :0), then you can’t go wrong with Tamora. One of my top 5 roses (or top 10 – it’s really hard to choose!).

  3. Perhaps my favorite David Austen, Sharifa Asma smells heavenly, does ok with blackspot (gets a little, but it doesn’t seem to suffer unlike some of my other roses) and is almost constantly in flower. It’s full of buds right now and is the main plant that I am still cutting roses from. The Mayflower has less spectacular flowers (they’re a bit small and not as shapely as other Austens), but there are LOTS of flowers and they smell lovely and I have never seen even the slightest hint of black spot. It’s one of the first roses to bloom in the spring and it still has buds right now.

    Have fun choosing!

  4. I’m very pleased with ‘Bishop’s Castle’ and ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’. Both very fragrant. Black Spot resistance unknown–we don’t get a lot of that in my climate.

    Rose shopping–it doesn’t get any more fun than that! Enjoy!

  5. Louise, Anne and Hoov: These are wonderful suggestions and I think, Louise, Tamora is a definite because it should fit in the containers I will be using. Anne, The Mayflower sounds like a winner for me and Hoov, I think Bishop’s Castle is a go. Thank you!

  6. I am curious, do you get own-root bare root? I am torn between bare root/grafted, own root bare root, or just container roses, since I can purchase those locally without having to deal with shipping. I feel like in order to be a “real” rose gardener I should go with the own root bare root, but I’ve also heard the grafted roots perform much better for my zone (5). I am also hoping to be able to grow my own wedding bouquet for next summer, and the container roses are obviously far more established. SO many options!

    1. Hi Jess–I mainly purchase own-root roses for two reasons: first, because I live in a climate with cold winters (zone 6) I don’t have to worry about the graft dying and the rootstock taking over. (I’ve written more about that here.) Second, I am intrigued by Old Garden and other older rose cultivars which are available primarily through mail order which sell them as bands. But that’s not to say I haven’t purchased grafted roses, and I found last summer that the David Austins, with the exception of ‘Jude the Obscure’ and ‘Strawberry Hill’, I purchased own-root were not as robust and I just recently discarded one, ‘Young Lycidas’, which never grew past 6 inches. The David Austins I planted this spring were all grafted. In your zone, you might consider own-root since your winters are so cold, but you could also try growing grafted roses, too. I would select roses that are hardy to zone 5 and below (either way) and if you plant a grafted rose, plant the bud union a few inches below the soil line. Final thought: if you are trying to grow roses for your own wedding next summer then purchasing a banded rose, which will only be in it’s second year of growth by then, would definitely not provide enough roses for you so a grafted, well established rose would be a better option for that scenario (save the banded roses to enjoy in later seasons.) Hope this info helps and good luck to you!

  7. What a great gift! I’ve enjoyed your blog for the past couple years and thought you may like a coupon code or two, to go with your rose dollars.

    $20 off over$80 purchase code: UFV expires March 15
    15% off code: UFM expires March 15
    25% off code: UF9 expires March 15

    I listed both the last two as I don’t know if there is a min purchase amount required. All expiration dates were extended from February due to bad weather. So there is a reason to celebrate bad weather! : )

    1. Thank you!! We’re in the midst of moving so I haven’t had a chance to reserve my roses yet. So glad they extended this offer! 🙂

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