Six on Saturday – My Tribute to David Austin

I’m ignoring the sudden plunge in temperatures. Instead I’m dreaming of summer- and roses in particular. This is my tribute to the wonderful rose grower David Austin who died last month aged 92.

My first roses planted here were David Austin’s. Constance Spry, a glorious old fashioned-looking rose, drapes along the 40 foot pergola. A wonder. Such beauty when it’s in bloom. A fleeting glory, gone in just a few weeks. But the anticipation, waiting for the scent, is worth it.

I gather a basket of blooms. Soon the scent fills the potting shed. In a few moments, I’ve wound the roses into a mossy ring. A halo of elderflower completes the wreath.

I always prop up flower arrangements in the potting shed window to look for gaps, and to add finishing touches.

Then it’s on to the summerhouse. The evening breeze sends the scent through the open doors. A perfect place to sit and contemplate the day’s work.

You can read more about David Austin here https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jan/01/david-austin-obituary. A life- and work which brought so much joy to so many people, including me. My garden wouldn’t be the same without my David Austin roses.

Joining in with the Propagator for Six on Saturday meme, https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2019/01/05/six-on-saturday-05-01-2019/ . Why not go over and see what others are choosing for their six photos today.

What roses are you planning to grow in your gardens this year?

36 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – My Tribute to David Austin

  1. Are elderflowers the same as elderberry? If so, what is that nice waxy privet foliage? I do not know what my roses are. They were there long before my time, and will be there long afterward. When I do get around to selecting a few roses, they will be hybrid tea roses, particularly John F. Kennedy, my favorite!

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    • Thank you Tony. I’ve just had a look, and that Kennedy rose is gorgeous. I can see why you love it. I too love white roses. The elderflowers come before the black elderberries. We make syrup from the flowers and wine from the berries. The evergreen surround is wild ivy from my hedgerow. We have plenty of ivy. I’ve just been looking and there are legions of bright red ladybirds all hibernating in the gnarled stems. A force of nature all ready to eat my greenfly! Best wishes. Karen

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      • Elderberries are rad! I used to be bummed that we lack them here, but our native blue elderberry seems to work just as well. I do not use the flowers, but the fruit makes excellent jelly that has second place (although not first) at the Jelly and Jam Competition at the Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival for the past few years. (It is a long story.) I made cough syrup for the guys at work who believe it is good for that sort of thing, but I am not so convinced.

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  2. All my roses have been bought from David Austin and I have visited his nursery a few times, always coming home with a car boot full!
    Your wreath is a beautiful tribute to him, how could anyone resist those gorgeous flowers and what a perfume too!

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    • Thank you Pauline. I’m glad you like my simple tribute. His roses are beautiful indeed. Good luck with your roses and all you do in the garden in 2019. I’m perusing catalogues and choosing bare root roses as we speak. x

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  3. A lovely tribute Karen. I didn’t know anything about him, although I seem to recall buying a climbing rose called David Austin, is that possible? What a wonderful way to be remembered for years and years into the future

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  4. We gardeners and lovers of roses owe a lot to David Austin, and your rose wreath says it all. Over the years I have bought several bushes from his nursery and have also had the good fortune to visit in the height of the rose season.

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    • Thank you Noelle. I’ve yet to visit the nursery. I used to see David every year at the flower shows. I’m currently making a spring wreath out of rosehips. Still thinking of David. All the best with your gardening for 2019. x

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  5. Lovely tribute. I’d been considering adding DA rose as a late wedding present to myself, but feel I have to now. I don’t currently have any but reading the English Roses last year encouraged me to put in two old roses. I only get the one flowering period, but wonderful scent and seem very healthy.

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    • Thank you. We always buy roses as wedding presents. It’s wonderful to visit and see their roses flourishing – alongside all the ones we buy for new borns. A very happy tradition indeed. All the very best with your gardening- and congratulations on your wedding. x

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  6. What a treat to see that rose wreath – I’ll definitely be trying that. Did you ever visit the David Austin nurseries? I went there when deciding on some new roses to buy and was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the man himself wondering through the rose beds. I wanted to run up to him and say how much I loved his roses but he looked so peaceful I left him alone. He disappeared through a private gate. What a legacy he has left.

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    • Hi Katherine, no, I haven’t been to visit yet. I must take my Mum there. I used to see him at the Chelsea flower show each year. Also, when I worked as a journalist for gardening magazines and newspapers, we often needed a speedy response to a query, or a photo os something and we were always in a tearing hurry. He was always always so polite , patient and kind. He never minded being rushed. I really appreciated his good humour and patience. Other people were not so kind. I haven’t forgotten. Best wishes. Karen x

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  7. i have a dozen or so roses now, all climbers, the last three i bought were all David Austin – The Pilgrim, Claire Austin and Gertrude Jekyll. Only planted them recently so I need to wait a few years before they are in full pomp. i am fast getting a thing for roses. your wreath looks beautiful.

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    • Thank you. We Planted Claire to celebrate the birth of our daughter Clare and I have Gertrude Jekyll in virtually every garden I work in. A good choice. The Pilgrim can be grown over an archway too. Very pretty. All the best. Karen

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  8. Karen lovely tribute to David Austin. I have been looking at your roses to buy a couple of them when you are in the country house. The photos are magnificent. The Rose “Constance Spry” must be spectacular to cover a pergola of 40 feet, and it must be a beauty to have it even if it blooms once, although if its perfume is extraordinary, it is worth it. The roses in the photos I love: in bloom in January. Their shape and colors are wonderful. I love the crown, it is magnificent, glorious: very special with the elderflower. It is so very beautiful and special in the Summer House that it seems to be Spring: I love it. Karen is a great blog, my congratulations. Karen give memories and love to your Mother from me. For your whole family love and health. For you love, health and rest very much after all the work of the holidays. Take care. Very loving greetings from Margarita.

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    • Thank you Margarita. I was really sad to hear of David Austin’s death. I knew him from old. He was always such a patient and kind man. We used to have to ask him questions – always in a terrible hurry. He was always always polite and patient with us and understood deadlines. He never let us down. His roses have added so much to my enjoyment of my own garden. Thanks again for your kind words. Health and loving greetings to your family. Take care. Love karen xx

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  9. Oh, my. I had no idea that David Austin passed away. What a treasure. We grow Lady of Schalott and Benjamin Brittens here. My oldest daughter just purchased six assorted varieties for her new home.

    I love what you’ve done with your selection. Stunning.

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    • Thank you Ann. I used to meet David at the Chelsea flower show each year. What a gentleman he was. Nothing too much trouble. Thank you for reading the blog. All the best. Karen

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