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This is the other thing I like about David Austin roses

This is the other thing I like about David Austin roses
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On Saturday, my stylist was showing me her long hedge of Knock Outs (various colors, don’t know the type) in front of her house and I have to admit I was a bit jealous. She then remarked that she needed to “cut them all back,” and I tried to tactfully urge her against any such action at this time. She probably will anyway.

The next day, I glanced back at my hidden garden/jungle-of-weeds that takes advantage of a narrow south-facing space between my garage and the neighbor’s back garden. I was pleased to see that my ridiculously huge David Austin ‘Darcey Bussell’ was loaded with viable buds. They were also on really tall stems, just as you’d see with a hybrid tea. (The DA English roses tend to have sprays, more like floribundas.) I could easily have cut 5-foot stems, like the novelty ones you see around Valentine’s Day. These roses get going in May and continue into November. The catalog description, like most of the DAs, falsely promises short shrubbiness, but all of my roses from this grower seem determined to reach for the stars. Which is fine; in spring, I can tame them a bit. The buds are opening beautifully, and the form is way better than my stylist’s shrubs. I think so, anyway. The best part is that this is a time when you can cut every flower in the garden.

Unlike many of the historic and literary names used by DA, Darcey Bussell is a real live person, a well-known ballerina, now retired, who now judges Britain’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Posted by

Elizabeth Licata
on October 25, 2016 at 9:41 am, in the category It’s the Plants, Darling.

3 Comments

    • Julie
    • 30th May 2016

    You don’t mention fragrance.
    I have some Double Red Knock Outs, and they are fantastic flowering shrubs. But I don’t really think of them as roses–they have no scent.
    I grow a couple of hybrid teas; ugly plants with long stems topped with the occasional, beautifully formed flower. As winter looms, I look for blooms to cut, perfect and unmarred by the now absent Japanese beetles. A single flower perfumes a room.
    How do your David Austin roses compare? I’ve tried one or two over the years, and none have thrived. But I’m always willing to try again…

    • Elizabeth Licata
    • 4th October 2016

    The DAs have great fragrance. I do not think I have ever encountered one without fragrance–because they get what roses are supposed to be like. I don’t know why they wouldn’t thrive–I have found they thrive only too well (they get really tall)–but I am just really bothered by beetles. I think it could be the lack of turfgrass where I live.

    • Julie
    • 2nd November 2016

    My past attempts were bargain plants of questionable quality, dropped into less-than-ideal spots. Sometimes those ‘experiments’ have worked out ok, but not then. My next-door-neighbor grows them well, so I can’t claim climate. Perhaps I’ll spend some time this winter scouting some good quality mail order sources, and planning a spot with proper growing conditions. Based on your story, I think they will hold their own in a mixed perennial planting and look better than a hybrid tea.
    Thank you for the perspective–it’s easy to be tempted by roses in June, but this inspires to plan ahead for a late fall display.

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