New ways to use David Austin Roses

The new David Austin Rose catalogue is out and on the back cover is this image of Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ flowering in our Rose Meadow last year.

David Austin Roses bestselling rose 'Gertrude Jekyll' photographed in the Rose meadow at Easton
David Austin Roses bestselling rose ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ photographed in the Rose meadow at Easton. Photo courtesy of Howard Rice.

Five years ago, Michael Marriott came over from Albrighton (where the world famous nursery is based) to advise us on our new planting. I wanted the roses to be in an informal but english setting and so we have created large circular beds for them in the long grass. Most of the roses flower once at the end of June and again in late summer. Some scramble onto large iron frames. We commissioned these from our friend Angelo and they add height to the planting. The meadows can be seen close up or from the site of the old house on the far side of the valley.

Climbing rose in the meadow showing supports to add height
Climbing rose in the meadow showing supports to add height

This innovative idea has been very warmly received by our visitors and we are adding to its appeal by introducing camassias, irises and other tough non-natives directly into the grass. Initially the grasses come up lush and green but by July they have yellowed and bleached creating a different background for the roses. We cut the sward with a modern allen scythe in late summer. The beds around the edges contain an important lilac collection and we have added stands of silver birch and other small trees.

Gertrude Jekyll and other popular roses are available to buy in our nursery area. Our most sought after roses include Veichenblau, The Generous Gardener, Malvern Hills and The Mayflower.

Roses for sale in the courtyard nursery area
Roses for sale in the courtyard nursery area


The Beauty of Clear Pink: 5 of the best roses.

Every season seems to have its predominant colour combinations. Early summer here  means gentle blues, pinks and whites. The blue geraniums glow in the dusk and white flowers pepper the meadows and woods. The intense green brought on by the rain this year is the perfect foil for the pale pink roses.
Here are 5 beautiful roses, all photographed in the gardens this week:
Rosa ‘Constance Spry’
Introduced in 1961 this is the grand dame of David Austin’s best roses. She flowers once a year but in such profusion and vigour that it is worth the wait. The flowers have a beautiful form and scent. Can be grown as a large shrub or climber. We grow ours as short climbers on a north and south wall.
Constance Spry
Rosa ‘The Generous Gardener’ 
Named to commemorate the work of the NGS (who we open for at Easter). I pass this rose on the way into the office everyday (you can see it next to the trellis gate by the tearoom where we grow it as a short climber ) Its great beauty is guaranteed to make me pause in admiration.
Generous Gardener (2) Generous Gardener (3)
Rosa ‘Gentle Hermione’
A relatively recent introduction that is making a healthy show in our meadow. A tribute to its natural vigour; not all roses can cope with the cold and competition in our meadow rose displays. I am looking forward to getting to know this beautiful rose better. The picture below shows an atypical flower that is charming nevertheless.
Gentle Hermione
Rosa ‘The Windflower’
I love the casual blowsiness of this rose, it is good for informal areas. The petals are loosely folded and the flowers exude the kind of charm that carefree children have.
Rosa ‘The Mayflower’
Our big hitter. We grow this as a hedge outside the tearoom. The blooms lack the form of some of the finer roses listed above but what it lacks in detail it makes up for with the big picture…It is very healthy and flowers throughout the summer. We get the most requests for its name of all the plants in the garden(despite the prominent label)
The Mayflower

And while I am on the subject of pink. This is our dark elder. Sambucus nigra. I think it is ‘Black Lace’ but we also have ‘Black Beauty’  Shown here with the elderflower cordial that I made from its flowers. For the recipe see my blog at Fennel and Fern (due to be published June 29)
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