It was a sad day when I opened an e-mail to tell me that David C.H. Austin (or ‘Mr A’ to many of those who knew him) had died at the age of 92. So close to the company’s Christmas party, I imagined, just a couple of days before the anniversary of the death of his wife, Pat. You can read the official obituary of someone who will always be one of my heroes on the David Austin Roses website. Here, I’m sharing my memories of the man who changed my life when he approved my appointment to one of the most fascinating jobs I can imagine. Continue reading
The recent RHS Hampton Court Flower Show offered the chance to see some new varieties up close. Today I’m sharing a few pictures taken at the show of a new introduction from David Austin, Rosa ‘Mill on the Floss’. Continue reading
Rosa ‘Scepter’d Isle’ caught my eye during our visit to Bodnant Garden in Wales this week. The garden opens until 8 o’clock in the evening some Wednesdays during the summer (please check details online before visiting) so we could arrive fashionably late and still enjoy a (very) warm evening stroll.
We had planned to go a week or so earlier – given the choice, I prefer to catch the roses slightly before their peak when they are at their freshest, before the garden has time to need dead-heading. Winds gusting at 35-40mph put paid to that idea. Although the rose garden was a touch further on, it was still looking lovely, with rambling roses in flower on the many pergolas. Continue reading
My idea of serene… Rosa ‘Phyllis Bide’ grows on a simple framework of pillars and crossbeams on both sides of a path to The Gallery tea room at David Austin Roses in Wolverhampton, England. It’s just one of many climbers and ramblers showcased along the pathway, but I always used to take a moment to linger beside this pretty rambling rose, and I’m sure you can see why. Continue reading
My sweetheart and I were counting our lucky stars earlier this week to have the chance to preview the wonderful RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. If you follow my blog, you’ll not be surprised that almost my first point of call was to catch up with some of my old buddies who were doing some nervous, last minute petal tweaking (always a massive temptation) on the David Austin display moments before the judges arrived. I didn’t think they had too much to worry about. Continue reading
I’m continuing my series of posts on this year’s crop of rose photographs with Rosa ‘Jude The Obscure’, one of the most wonderfully scented English roses. I haven’t got many decent pictures of this variety: this is about the best. Continue reading
I took my first picture of Rosa ‘Desdemona’ when I popped in to hug some dear friends working on the David Austin rose display at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. Their new white English rose for 2015 was named to commemorate one of Shakespeare’s most independent, open-hearted and gentle heroines: an inspired choice!
Large fans were keeping the air circulating in the nearby Floristry Marquee to prevent the cut flowers wilting, but there was no such luxury in the Festival of Roses Marquee. The conditions were cruelly hot for humans to endure, but to my surprise, the roses appeared to relish being held captive inside a tent on the hottest July afternoon ever recorded in England. Continue reading
Imagine buying a bunch of roses. You’ve probably brought to mind a bouquet of classic hybrid tea roses – the ones with long, tapering buds and straight stems that are so widely available. I wonder if, like me, you’ve sometimes felt just a little disappointed when the buds fail to deliver their promise and fade away before they’ve really opened?
Behind the scenes, breeders have been developing a new type of cut rose, inspired by old garden roses. Often mistaken for peonies, these blowsy beauties are so far removed from what’s gone before that they’re almost like a new type of flower. Continue reading
Ever seen a field of yellow sunflowers in an open field in Tuscany, all obediently facing the same way? It’s a beautiful sight, though it always looks a little eerie to me – such clear proof of the irresistible pull of the sun.
If they were humans, we can be sure there’d be a few rebels amongst them. But plants tend to grow to face the sun to a greater or lesser extent. Continue reading