They are named English Roses, but everyone calls them David Austin Roses. Why are they so unique? What makes them so popular with the rose buying crowd? Who is this man named Mr. David Austin? He was born in England in 1926 and went into the nursery business in the 1960’s. This was the time when hybrid tea roses were the trend, for their new colors and perfect forms. David Austin wanted rose breeding to take a different path. He was looking for roses that would meet the needs of the gardener, remarkably beautiful, yet easy to prune and tend. He began to combine the best characteristics of the old roses (shrubby habit, cupped, rosette flower form and delicious scent) with those of the modern roses (repeat blooming and wider color range). He wanted his roses to mingle well in a mixed border with herbaceous perennials, creating a traditional English cottage garden.
From his beginnings as a humble farmer, David Austin has come a long way. His roses are now sold worldwide and his rose garden at Albrighton in county Shropshire, is home to over 800 varieties of roses. He has introduced many famous roses such as Graham Thomas, Mary Rose and Constance Spry.
David Austin has also collected a number of awards during his life. He won the Victoria Medal of Honour from the Royal Horticultural Society in 2003 for his services to horticulture and the Dean Hole Medal from the Royal National Rose Society. He also received an Honorary MSc from the University of East London for his work on rose breeding. He received the lifetime achievement award from the Garden Centre Association in 2004 and was most recently appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire, which makes him David C.H. Austin OBE.
On this esteemed award he says: ‘I am honored and delighted to be awarded an OBE for services to horticulture in the Queen’s birthday honors list. Every day, I marvel at my good fortune to have been able to make a life out of breeding roses, but of all the many days in my professional life, this is surely the most special. It is always a source of great satisfaction to see the pleasure my roses give to gardeners and rose lovers worldwide’. David Austin 16th June 2007
Long live the beautiful, versatile, elegant, delicious, velvety, radiant rose!