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English (David Austin) Roses

Constance Spry rose
Constance Spry
Is there any single group of modern day roses that are more loved that David Austin's English roses? Probably not.

The first of these was released back in the early 60s (Constance Spry) and since that time, there has been around 200 varieties produced. Each one a delightful mix of old and new rose qualities. Scent, old style flowers, repeat blooming... there is a lot to like about the English rose.

Abraham Darby English Rose

One of the great English roses, Abraham Darby

David Austin

David Austin is an British breeder who first started work breeding roses in his own nursery in the 1960s. Old garden roses, which were losing popularity, were his main source in inspiration. His goal was to get the best traits of the antiques, the fragrance and grace, but in a more updated flower with repeating blooms. He definitely succeeded... so much so, that he was formally acknowledged by the Queen for his efforts. His roses have pretty much defined the industry for England, and have become popular the world over.

The English Roses

His first English rose, or Austin rose, was Constance Spry, in 1963, which got its name after the renowned flower arranger and cook.

'Chianti' and 'A Shropshire Lass' followed soon after and today he is still breeding new varieties every year. There are approximately 200 David Austin' roses, that have the scent and character of the old ones, but also the repeat flowering of the modern ones. His roses become very popular and are today favorites around the world. He also wrote several books about roses. In 2003, David Austin was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honor by the Royal Horticultural Society. He was also awarded the Dean Hole Medal by the Royal National Rose Society (Great Britain).

Characteristics Of The English Rose

I have always loved the older roses... Gallicas, Portlands, Centifolias and so on. The colors and forms of these old roses are beautiful, and they generally have a lovely fragrance. Something sadly lacking in a lot of modern varieties.

And so too the English roses. While some are a little low on scent, the vast majority are absolutely loaded with fragrance. And they also have a long flowering season with multiple flushes throughout the summer. Disease resistance is also much improved over the older roses.

The Most Fragrant English Roses

This list is the English roses that David Austin himself considers to be his most fragrant varieties. So if it's scent that is important to you, then you could do worse than making your selection from the following...

Boscobel, Gentle Hermion, The Poets Wife, Charles Darwin, Gertrude Jekyll, Golden Celebration, Harlow Carr, Jubilee Celebration, Lady Emma Hamilton, Munstead Wood, Strawberry Hill, Jude The Obscure, Sweet Juliet, Woolerton Old Hall, Abraham Darby, Alan Titchmarsh, Constance Spry.


Many of the English roses can be grown as a climber, especially if you are lucky enough to live somewhere with warmer conditions. Varieties such as Constance Spry, A Shopshire Lad, Graham Thomas and The Pilgrim look fantastic growing as a small climber along a trellis or fence. As many of these are large blooms that might "nod" a little, getting them up to or above eye height really helps to show off the blooms.

While David Austins website maintains that later varieties tend to be improvements over the originals, my personal experience doesn't necessarily bear this out. Constance Spry for example. True, it's not such a good repeat bloomer as some of the more modern examples, but I have never met anyone that regretted planting it in their own garden. If I was limited to one pink English rose only, then I think this one just might be it.

A spider and a honeybee

This honeybee got more than it bargained for, when visiting a bloom on Abraham Darby (look closely to see why!)

More English Roses

With around 200 different varieties, we are never going to get a definitive collection of them. However, we will continue to add new pictures and descriptions as we come across more varieties in both public and private gardens.

Abraham Darby
Bred in 1985, part of David Austins English Rose collection. Rated by Austin as one of the more fragrant of his creations.
Constance Spry
The very first of David Austins English rose collection, Constance Spry is still as popular as ever after more than 50 years.
While the picture of the Falstaff rose is not of a perfect specimen, it does still show the wonderful coloring and form.
Gertrude Jekyll
Named after a famous garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll is a classic English rose from the 1980s. A creation of David Austin Roses.
Golden Celebration
You may also see this labeled as the Ausgold.  It was first released by David Austin in the early 1990s.
Jude the Obscure
There is nothing descriptive of the rose in this name. And nothing romantic either, unless you are a fan of the novelist Thomas Hardy.
This is one of the earlier of the Austin English roses. No longer actively marketed due to it being superceded by better varieties.
The Pilgrim
David Austin did the rose world a great service, with his introduction of the English Roses. The Pilgrim is one of his best.

Roses By Type

Wild roses, Hybrids, climbers, miniatures and more. Make some sense of the multitude of rose varieties with our handy guides.

Wild Roses
Wild or species roses. They have a natural simple beauty, with their plain 5 petal flowers and vibrant red hips.
Old Fashioned
This includes varieties such as Alba, Damask, Gallica, Hybrid Perpetual, Bourbons, Moss, and many more.
Hybrid Tea
Probably the most popular type in use today. Orignally created by crossing Hybrid Perpetuals and Tea roses.
Climbing Roses
The climbers are not a variety, they can come from different families such as HT's, Floribundas, Antiques etc.
Rambling Roses
Similar habit to the climbers, but with a few subtle (and important to remember) differences between them.
Well known for their prolific sprays of flowers, the floribundas are a very popular garden choice.
Ground Covers
This encompasses varieties such as the Knockout, Drift, and Star roses. Generally very easy care.
A great way to bring your roses indoors or onto the patio. And with a low price, you can have as many as you want!
English Roses
One of the best loved varieties, David Austin's English roses are a must have for your garden.
Shrub Roses
This class is a "catch all" for roses that just don't fit other catagories. A bit of a cop out really!
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