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GardenSMART :: New David Austin Roses for 2018

New David Austin Roses for 2018

By David Austin Roses
Photographs courtesy of David Austin Roses

David Austin Roses debuts three new English Roses: 'Roald Dahl', 'Imogen' and 'Bathsheba'. These new varieties will be available bare root online and by mail order in Spring 2018. In Spring 2019 these varieties also become available at fine garden centers across the U.S. For more on the full collection of 116 English Rose varieties, see

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'Roald Dahl' According to Michael Marriott, technical director and senior rosarian of David Austin Roses in Albrighton, England, "Initial trials suggest that 'Roald Dahl' should thrive in a wide range of different U.S. and Canadian growing conditions, including hot/humid and hot/dry conditions."

The flower color is perfectly peach, a shade considered particularly useful in garden design. "Peach and apricot flowers are incredibly versatile in the garden," says Marriott. "They mix well with flowers of nearly all colors -- even strong pink and strong yellow – and are especially beautiful in combination with blue and purple flowers or plants with purple-bronze foliage."

Details: 'Roald Dahl' delivers an exceptionally long bloom season, running from late spring through frost. It repeat-blooms so quickly that the bush is nearly always in flower. Its robust flowers are medium-sized, 3-inches across, with approximately 55 petals each. It has few thorns. Soft orange-red buds open to cupped rosettes of perfect peach coloring. The bush is upright with a rounded shape and glossy, dark green leaves with an olive-green cast that is especially appealing with peach-colored flowers. The medium strong Tea fragrance has subtle leafy elements reminiscent of fresh mown grass, with dark fruit notes including hints of blackberry, damson, blueberries and plum. Grows 4 feet tall by 3 feet wide. Excellent in the garden or container. Hardy in USDA Zones 5 – 9. (David Austin 2016, Ausowlish).

Naming notes: Named in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of British author Roald Dahl. In 1961 Dahl published James and the Giant Peach, his first children's book. That same year David Austin introduced the first English Rose, 'Constance Spry'.

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'Imogen' is a fresh-faced beauty with a rare and desirable characteristic: a classic button eye. "The button eye comes from true Old Roses, especially antique Gallica and Damask roses," says Marriott.

The soft lemon yellow flowers of 'Imogen' are exceedingly pretty. The blooms begin as pointed buds that become more rounded as they open. The fully open blooms are quite distinctive, with abundant, delicately frilled petals. Over time, the dense petals soften in color from lemon to nearly cream. Throughout, the color retains its clarity with no hint of green. "'Imogen is ideal for an informal perennial garden where its soft lemon and cream coloring will blend beautifully with similarly-hued blue and lilac flowers," says Marriott.

Details: 'Imogen' is an extremely floriferous rose that begins to bloom in early summer with late peonies and repeat blooms till frost. The medium-sized blooms have 65 petals. Its sturdy bush is quite upright with attractive mid-green, glossy foliage. The light to medium fragrance nicely supports the flower's look and coloring, with hints of fresh apple and almond blossom and, occasionally, teasing wafts of a musky/clove scent from the stamens. Grows 4 feet tall by 3 feet wide; in areas with longer growing seasons it is likely to grow taller. Hardy in USDA Zones 5 – 9. (David Austin 2016, Austritch).

Naming notes: The name 'Imogen' takes inspiration from the daughter of King Cymbeline, and virtuous wife of Postumus, in William Shakespeare's Cymbeline.

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'Bathsheba' is a vigorous climbing rose with big, beautiful apricot-colored flowers. It blooms repeatedly from early summer till frost. 'Bathsheba' is notable as David Austin's first new apricot-hued climber in 20 years. The fragrance of 'Bathsheba' is a strong myrrh that is floral and warm in character with hints of honey and Tea. The long, elegant apricot-yellow buds open to shallowly-cupped rosettes. Each flower is densely packed with up to 170 petals. While the overall impression of flower color is rich apricot, in fact each petal is apricot-pink on the upper side and soft yellow on the under side. In a charming halo-effect associated with English Roses, the outer petals are paler in color and softly fanned to catch the sun.

Details: As with all English Rose climbers, 'Bathsheba' grows full to the ground with plenty of basal stems to fan up and across a trellis. It blooms from the ground up. Its foliage is mid-green with a satiny surface. It grows to 10 feet in height. Hardy in USDA Zones 5 – 9. (David Austin 2016, Austchimbley).

Naming notes: The name was inspired by the spirited heroine of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd.


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