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GardenSMART :: New English Roses for This Year

New English Roses for This Year

By Stan V. Griep, Master Consulting Rosarian, American Rose Society – Rocky Mountain District
Photographs courtesy of David Austin English Roses

What better way to bring in a new year than to take a look at some of the beautiful new roses being introduced for sale? Allow me to introduce two new rosebushes from David Austin English Roses. Both are available as mail order bare root stock only for 2017 and will be available at select garden centers in the US and Canada in 2018.

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Desdemona™ (Auskindling)

The first of these fine new roses is a shrub rose named Desdemona™. Like other Austin roses she is exquisitely beautiful, with pretty peachy pink buds that open to show her amazing white bloom smiles. The pretty kiss of pink at the early stages of blooming are eye catching and heart warming indeed.  

Michael Marriott, Austin’s technical director and senior Rosarian states that in trials, Desdemona has done well in a broad range of growing conditions, including both hot/humid and hot/dry. Its fragrance is strong and complex. Austin’s professional “rose nose,” Robert Calkin, describes the scent as “Old Rose and almond blossom with hints of lemon zest and cucumber.” I don’t know about you, but that fragrance description makes me want to meet her in person! (Naming notes: Desdemona is the tragic heroine of William Shakespeare’s play, Othello.)

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The Ancient Mariner™ (Ausoutcry)

The second new introduction is a shrub rose named The Ancient Mariner™. The Ancient Mariner is a taller English rose that is beautifully suited for use as a vertical accent for the middle or back of a border or as a larger shrub rose for landscape beds. Masses of big, buxom pink flowers high on the bush are eye-catching set against healthy green foliage. Coupled with the wonderfully strong myrrh fragrance of those bloom smiles, well, this rosebush is truly a total delight to the senses!

The upward-facing, cupped flowers are densely packed with as many as 160 petals per flower. The color is a rich glowing pink that seems deeper pink at the center and paler towards the edges. In fact, all the petals are the same shade of pink. The deeper pink at the center is a result of shadowing by the cupped petals and petal density. The paler color is due to sunlight catching the outer ring of relaxed petals, just one petal deep. Over time, in the heart of each open bloom, a cluster of golden stamens is revealed.

Though large, the flowers stand up to rain, holding their shape. After bloom, the spent petals fall cleanly away. The Ancient Mariner is a very healthy and vigorous rosebush that is expected to fare well in a variety of climatic conditions. Be sure to allow room in your gardens or rose beds so that she may grow to her full extent of beauty. A truly stylish and classy repeat-flowering beauty, she is. (Naming notes: The name ‘The Ancient Mariner’ was inspired by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.)

Visit the David Austin English Roses website to order these rosebushes for your rose beds or gardens and to learn more about the exquisite Austin Roses at

Next month I will take a look at some more new roses for 2017.

Author bio: With 40+ years of rose growing experience, Stan V. Griep is a Master Consulting Rosarian for the Rocky Mountain Region of the American Rose Society as well as the Denver and Loveland Rose Societies, a Colorado Native Rosarian, and is a member of the American Rose Society, The Denver Rose Society, and the Loveland Rose Society. He is a Cyber Consulting Rosarian for the American Rose Society, Colorado Gardening on-line and as well as a freelance writer and speaker. An award-winning photographer, his latest book is available at


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