A Rose By Any Other Name ....
I love roses. I tried growing them in Boston, but not enough room. I tried growing them in Ohio, not enough sun. I am now growing English roses in South Carolina. Who knew? Of course, I do have an electric fence. First time I tried growing roses, they were devoured down to the roots. All those thorns and the little hooved darlings still ate them like popcorn.
I buy my roses from David Austin, USA. The original David Austin rose nursery is in Shropshire, England and there was a real David Austin who bred roses for 60 years. He started breeding roses at the age of 16 and passed away in 2018 at the age of 92.
Austin or English roses are not a separate species, but are a special combination of the old English roses with their exquisite scent and modern roses with repeat blooms. Mine bloom usually in late April and early May and then again in late June and yet again in the fall. I had blooms on one bush in December.
David Austin roses are named after famous figures in British history and literature. I have Gertrude Jekyll, named after the famous gardener, Abraham Darby, named after an 18th century Quaker Industrialist, and Poet’s Wife and Mill on the Floss, after literature. I also have a rascally climbing rose named after James Galway, the man with the golden flute and he is a bit of a rascal if you have ever seen him perform.
In the USA, David Austin roses is headquartered in Texas so you can order without any import fees or transport worries. The handbook that you receive with your roses is just plain remarkable. Over 100 pages of rose catalog, planting and care information, as well as customized care for our zone, the Southeast. It is a huge treat to receive this detailed guide every year when I order. I am planning on expanding my garden just to accommodate more roses. I have never had any black spot or other disease. I use David Austin rose food and follow their regimen for care and feeding and I am rewarded by lovely fragrant roses. Do not be afraid to try roses down here. You can always grow Knock-outs, but be a little adventurous!
On another note, I have to tell you that I pushed the envelope this year and was successful in growing sweet peas in our climate. I planted them late October in a pot with a trellis and they are now beyond the trellis and climbing my porch screen. Another lovely scent in the garden and they last a long time as a cut flower.
Just because I cannot go to England this year, there is no reason why I cannot bring England to my yard.