That magic is more easily seen than described, and is more than the mere sum of a rose’s parts. Beyond traits like loveliness and healthy bloom yield per season, “it is the way all of the above work together,” Michael says. “We want all of these positive characteristics, but see magic only when everything adds up to something that’s absolutely breathtaking.” When asked about his own favorite David Austin roses, Michael mentions several, including Munstead Wood, Lady of Shalott, Gertrude Jekyll, Princess Alexandra of Kent, and The Generous Gardener, but is reluctant to choose from among the many varieties he has worked with over the past three decades.
“My list can vary by the day,” he says. “A fresh memory of scent and off I’ll go in another direction.” For fragrance, though, he favors the classic Old Rose scent of Gertrude Jekyll, and the Buttercup, he says, “for its elusive, truly delicious and rather exotic perfume.” David C. H. Austin himself, Michael relates, always says he hasn’t a favorite, but when pressed, might include Olivia Rose Austin and Princess Alexandra of Kent.
Text Cynthia Reeser Constantino
To learn more about David Austin Roses, read “David Austin Roses: A Romance with the Garden” on page 69 of the March/April 2017 issue of Victoria. Also, see David Austin Roses’s list of most fragrant varieties.