Every year at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, David Austin Roses launch the latest of its English Roses. They’ve been doing this for decades, since 1983 in fact, when the old favourites Mary Rose (‘Ausmary’) and Graham Thomas (‘Ausmas’) first saw the light of day.
Since then David Austin has launched an amazing 191 new English Roses, about three quarters of which are still going strong and are sold all over the world. Quite a record.
Of the three that are due to launch at Chelsea this year, there is one that really stands out, Bathsheba (‘Auschimbley’).
Bathsheba is a climber, one of a relatively small number of climbers introduced by David Austin over the years. Reaching about 3m (10ft) in height, the large flowers mature to apricot, peachy-pink and yellow tones. In the mature flowers the outer ring of petals is pale apricot and surrounds a quartered centre of petals in peach and pink with golden richness shading through.
The fragrance is exceptionally strong: myrrh is the strongest note with honey and then tea emerging as the flowers develop. The fragrance is very different, and even stronger, than that of an earlier Austin climber, Crown Princess Margareta (‘Auswinter’), in similar colours, from 1999.
As we expect from English Roses, Bathsheba flowers all summer and while vigorous and healthy, is easily kept to an appropriate size with regular pruning. It’s named after the heroine of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd.
Also new from David Austin at Chelsea this year are Roald Dahl (‘Ausowlish’), a prolific peachy rose, and Imogen (‘Austritch’), with frilly soft lemon flowers.
RHS rose events 2016
Visit the RHS London Rose Show 3 – 4 June
RHS Garden Rosemoor Rose Festival 6 June – 10 July
Festival of Roses at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 5 – 10 July
Choosing the best rose
David Austin Roses
*Please note, the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author which are not necessarily those of the RHS