Three new David Austin English roses will tempt gardeners this spring.
Each rose has its own distinctive look, character and fragrance, but all three are hardy to USDA Zone 5.
“These delicate-looking beauties are exceptionally strong shrub roses that bloom their hearts out, early summer till frost,” says Michael Marriott, technical director and senior rosarian of David Austin Roses.
Austin roses combine classic flower forms, fragrance and the shrubby habit of antique roses with such modern rose characteristics as expanded color range, repeat flowering, disease resistance and the ability to grow in full sun or partial shade.
“Emily Bronte” is a gorgeous two-toned rose. Blush pink petals have a shimmer of pale apricot that grows darker toward the center of the flower with its button eye. Its fragrance is heady and unusual.
“In scent, ‘Emily Bronte’ delivers an unexpected plot twist,” says Marriott. “The flowers open with a fine tea fragrance. In mid-bloom, the tea wanes and old rose comes on strong, followed by teasing hints of lemon and grapefruit. In the garden, the effect is magical.” It’s also an unexpected transition, Marriott says, because usually tea transitions to fruity.
The repeat-flowering rose has distinctive flat blooms that measure 3 1/2 inches across. Each flower has approximately 100 petals. The shrub grows to 4 feet tall and 3 1/2 feet wide.
The name alone — “Tottering-by-Gently” — sounds as appealing as the rose, a mass of single yellow flowers in large open sprays. Five petals surround prominent golden stamens that attract pollinators. Fragrance is light-medium musk with fresh notes of orange peel. This rose also produces large rose hips.
This rose is described as blooming freely from early summer to frost. Each flower is 2 1/2 inches across on a rounded shrub that reaches 4 feet tall by 4 feet wide, depending on climate and pruning.
Last, but not least, “The Mill on the Floss” looks to be another beauty. It is a tall, full-bodied garden rose that bears large clusters of deeply cupped blooms. Initially the flowers are mid-pink with a lilac-pink cast, according to the description. As the blooms unfurl the pink turns pale and a carmine-red outline appears along the edges of individual petals, which is an unusual picotee effect for an English rose.
Flowers are nearly 3 inches across on a bushy shrub about 4 1/2 feet tall by 4 feet wide in cooler climates and taller in warmer locations. It needs four to five hours of sun per day. It was named for the 1860 novel by George Elliot.
With these three roses, there are 117 Austin-bred English rose varieties available to American gardeners as grafted bare-root stock, and 31 varieties on their own roots sold bare-root, and 26 varieties on their own roots sold in 2-quart pots. In spring 2021, “Tottering-By Gently,” “The Mill on the Floss” and “Emily Bronte” will be available in 2-gallon nursery pots at nurseries and garden centers were Austin roses are sold.