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A day at David Austin Roses

As we sell David Austin Roses we couldn’t really visit England without spending a day there, especially when they are only a 20 min drive from my sister’s house.  The plan was to spend a few hours mooching around their gardens and then sit down for their famous Afternoon Tea.

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My main contact at David Austin roses is Becky and I had previously spoken to her on the phone explaining that I was coming over from Germany.  I was keen to meet her as we had spoken so many times and I wanted to put a face to the voice.  Unfortunately, Becky explained that the day that we would be visiting would be her first day back at work after a 2 week holiday and that she would not have much time.  On the basis of this is was expecting a 5 min meet and greet, however, Becky was very generous with her time and spent more than an hour showing us the garden and discussing the different types of roses.

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The rose garden were not in full bloom and this is to be expected at this time of year but there were enough choice specimens in bloom to make the visit a memorable one.  It was very interesting to hear about the breeding programme and how long it takes to bring a new rose to the market place and the costs involved.  I was somewhat shocked to discover that it costs about 1 million pounds to develop a new rose and that thousands of seedlings are grown and only a choice few make the cut, the rest being discarded.  I will never complain about the cost of roses ever again!

David Austin Snr is clearly a man of great vision and perseverance, having started selling roses from his kitchen table, the first rose that he created being Constance Spry, a beautiful rose that we have here in the Moosbach Garden.

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I would recommend a visit to David Austin roses if you find yourself in England and anywhere near to Shropshire.  It is fantastic to be able to see so many different roses in different planting schemes and you will come away with your head full of thoughts on how to plant roses in your own garden.

I, for one came away realising that I prune my roses back too hard and I really should let them do their ‘thing’ a bit more.  We already have planting schemes similar to the picture immediately above with low clipped box hedging containing glorious roses. However, we have planted a row of climbing and rambling roses along the edge of one of our very few flat spaces and need to erect some supports for them.  At the David Austin rose garden they have a good mixture of support structures, including pergolas, we took lots of photographs and his will be an autumn/winter job for us.  I think with the more vigorous ramblers, like Paul’s Himalayan Musk that you need either a tree for it to grow up or a sturdy pergola.  We have 4 Paul’s Himalayan Musk roses in the Moosbach Garden, with some growing up into trees whilst others will be trained over pergola’s with their clusters of sweetly scented blooms dangling down to assault the senses.

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There were also some fairly large roses growing in terracotta pots which looked absolutely magnificent and it did reaffirm my view on planting roses in pots.  Customers quite often ask me if they can grow a rose in a pot as they don’ have a garden but a terrace or balcony.  I guess this will become an increasingly asked question as property prices increase, more people live in apartments rather than houses and globally we have a larger pensioner population.  Well my view has always been that all plants do better planted in the ground where they can spread their roots and obtain water and nutrients from a wider area but you can grow plants successfully in pots but it is a little more work (but worth it).

If you want to grow roses in pots you need to make sure that it is a decent size pot with good depth, the roots need space to grow  downwards or the rose will quickly become pot bound.  I would recommend sprinkling mycorrhizal fungi on the damp roots when you plant the rose, this will extend the root system and reduce water stress in hot weather. You also need to accept that any plant that is in a pot has a limited area from which to obtain water and nutrients that it needs to grow and the only way it will get them is by you watering and feeding it. I water all of my potted roses every day and feed with David Austin rose feed more often than those planted in the ground and they perform exceptionally well.  On the subject of pots, if you can afford it can I implore you to use terracotta over plastic, plastic usage is the current ‘hot potato’ but we all have our part to play in saving the environment.  If you must use plastic then go for a good quality, robust pot that will last 10 years or more.

This year was our first year selling David Austin roses and it has been a resounding success, we stocked 15 varieties this year and from the 180 that we ordered we only have 19 left.  For next year we have ordered more, 450 to be precise and 30 varieties.

If you would like to be notified when the roses are in stock and to find out when the Moosbach Garden is open then sign up for email notifications on here, there is a link on the right hand side.

Roses to look out for next year – Tottering by gently and Vanessa Bell.

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Tottering By Gently is like an old fashioned wild rose, is stunningly beautiful and will attract bees to your garden.

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Vanessa Bell is a very beautiful new rose from David Austin and repeat flowers well.

Top performing roses from this year – Gertrude Jekyll, Boscobel, Brother Cadfael, Golden Celebration, Gentle Hermione, Roald Dahl, Jude the obscure, Scepter’d isle, Strawberry Hill, Olivia Rose Austin, the Generous Gardener and Wollerton Old Hall (climbing).

If you would like to reserve a rose please visit our website by clicking here.

 

 

 

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Andrew Huber

I am an English gardener who has been living in the Black Forest in Germany for 4 years. Slowly I am transforming 16 acres of mountain into a garden. Feel free to email me if you have any gardening questions and I'll see if I can help.

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