Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Romantice Roses

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Romantice Roses

Article excerpt

Byline: By Hannah Stephenson

Hannah Stephenson talks to a world-renowned expert on the English rose and discovers how to have the best of both worlds.

Anyone who knows anything about roses will be familiar with the name David Austin, 12-times Chelsea gold-medal winner, who has won worldwide recognition for his fragrant English roses.

His roses have achieved international renown for their distinctive beauty, and his work to create even better varieties continues.

The family-run business at his rose nurseries, David Austin Roses, at Albrighton in Shropshire, has created rose gardens containing more than 800 varieties.

Although in recent years roses have dwindled in popularity, David Austin Roses continues to thrive, thanks to its advanced breeding programmes and attention to detail.

More than 1.2 million roses are grown for sale every year and the team carries out one of the largest rose breeding programmes in the world. A new variety is trialled for eight years before it is introduced on to the market, if it meets the high standards required.

The image of the rose remains as romantic as ever, Austin enthuses.

"The rose is totally unique in the sense that of all flowers it can express itself in so many different ways, from the endless forms and the way the light hits the petals, to the number of petals and range of colours. Rose flowers can be as big as peonies or really tiny.

"When I started the business around 60 years ago, there was a great vogue for bringing back old roses which had pretty much been lost. They have this added charm which you don't find in modern roses.

"Modern roses are best in rose beds but the English rose can be mixed with other flowers easily and has a certain grace and softness which you don't find in the modern rose.

"The trouble with the old rose was that it only flowered once in early summer. …

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