David JC Austin
With 18 Gold medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show under his belt, David JC Austin, Managing Director of David Austin Roses, is a world expert on rosegrowing. Who better to chat to us about these fabulous flowers?
How long has your family been growing roses? My grandparents were farmers in Shropshire and my father (david Austin, who founded the company) grew up with a passion for plants. he fell in love with old roses and set out to breed varieties that combined the old-rose charm and fragrance with the colour range and repeat-flowering of modern roses. his first, ‘Constance Spry’ (above), was introduced in 1961 and, by 1969, david Austin Roses was born.
What do you love about your job? i get the chance to visit gardens and nurseries across the world and spend time looking at very beautiful roses.
Tell us about your favourite new varieties. ‘Roald dahl’ is an elegant rose with peach flowers and a lovely tea fragrance. ‘imogen’ has softly fragrant pale lemon-yellow flowers, and ‘Bathsheba’, a climber, has wide, full-petalled rosette-shaped flowers in rich apricot-pink.
What’s the perfect rose for a country garden? A scented shrub or climber that flowers for many months, stays healthy and, most importantly, is beautiful. the pink scented shrub rose ‘olivia Rose Austin’ would be my choice.
What do you like to plant alongside roses? Perennial geraniums, catmint and penstemons. Just don’t grow them directly at the base of the roses as they’ll take the lion’s share of water and nutrients.
David Austin Roses, 01902 376300, davidaustin roses.co.uk.