. What's the big deal?
I mean, we Americans grow great roses, TOO. But there is something special about an entirely new breed of hybrid roses that blend the best of the past with the best of right now. These are incredibly tough everblooming shrubs with full-bodied roses in a wide array colors, and that effuse delicious fragrance - they smell like roses are supposed to smell. With little or no care.
..Hampton Court rose garden
AFTER 60 YEARS of intense, dedicated work, David Austin of Wolverhampton, England, combined the lush forms and sensual fragrances of "old roses" with the repeat flowering and the wide array of colors of modern roses. And because some of their "parentage" includes hardy, fragrant Southern favorites, these plants are very easy to grow - and are healthy and disease-resistant. The nearly thornless shrubs are NOT intended to be grown in long skinny rows; use them as magnificant, shapely specimen shrubs, in mixed flower borders, or even as mild-mannered climbers for fences, arbors, or short posts.
Perfect for our climate and gardens
Two in particular are suited very well for our hot, humid summers, with no sprays at all and only an occasional pruning for more dense shrubs and more flowers: Heritage - a lush pink rose - and the uniquely yellow Graham Thomas.
Both have been grown for many years now in Mississippi and other Southern gardens, and have proven themselves to be beautiful, fragrant, easy to cut (nearly thornless), and require no sprays at all. You can see for yourself - they are both in the center bed of the rose garden at the Agriculture Museum in Jackson, and also planted in the old Greenwood cemetery just north of downtown Jackson - grown with no sprays or other exceptional care. Really.
World's Favorite Rose
Graham Thomas, who died just fifteen years ago, was a highly esteemed English horticulturist and rose breeder. This year, the rose named after him, bred in 1983 by Sir David Austin, has been named "The World's Favorite Rose" by members of the 41-country World Federation of Rose Societies.
David Austin, Sr. with his Graham Thomas rose
For more information on Austin roses and a tour of David Austin's fabulous English rose display gardens, go to www.davidaustinroses.com. You may even want to schedule a visit if you are ever in central England - they are open all week, and they serve meals as well as English teas. Tell 'em I said "hey."
These are REAL roses, for folks ready to step up from the same old, same old, and create sensual garden memories - for many years to come.