Profiles of 2016 English Rose Introductions For the U.S. and Canada

David Austin
by Sally Ferguson
January 24, 2016

In 2016, David Austin Roses has three national introductions for U.S. and Canadian gardeners. Each makes its North American debut after turning heads and making headlines at London’s famed Chelsea Flower Show. All three varieties were 2014 introductions for English and European gardeners.

The new Austin roses include: an exquisite soft pink English Rose that Mr. Austin himself considers possibly the best rose they’ve ever bred; a deliciously fragrant yellow English Rose, Austin’s first yellow introduction since 2003; and a much-awaited, blush pink, short rambler rose that’s ideally suited to covering garden arches in flowers and perfume.

Following are full descriptions of the 2016 introductions from David Austin’s technical director and senior rosarian Michael Marriott. For more on these and all 134 English Roses available to U.S. and Canadian gardeners, visit or call 1-800-328-8893. All Austin roses sold in North America are grown in and shipped in or from the U.S.

‘Olivia Rose Austin’ – It’s hard for the understated English to enthuse. Yet, in beautiful ‘Olivia Rose Austin’ we find the master rose hybridizer David Austin himself admitting that ‘this is possibly the best rose we’ve ever bred.’ What makes this rose so spectacular? “It’s an outstanding rose that has it all,” said Michael Marriott. “It’s remarkably healthy and disease-free, incredible for a fragrant rose that blooms in such abundance. Its bloom season starts quite early, typically three full weeks ahead of other English Roses. All season, the blooms keep coming in full-blown flushes that follow in quick succession, hot on the heels of the one before.” The soft pink flowers have an Old Rose formation that opens to a cupped rosette. The medium-strong fragrance is lovely, with distinctly fruity tints. The dark green foliage shows off the flowers beautifully.

Details: Repeat-flowering. Pleasing fruity fragrance. The fully double flowers are 4-inches in diameter with approximately 90 petals each. Grows to 3.5-feet tall by 3-feet wide. Hardy in USDA Zones 5-10.

Naming notes: Named for David Austin’s granddaughter Olivia Rose Austin. (David Austin 2014, Ausmixture).

The Poet's Wife

‘The Poet’s Wife’— In ‘The Poet’s Wife’ Austin introduces its first yellow English Rose since ‘Charles Darwin’ in 2003, making it only the 16th yellow in Austin’s expansive range. “Yellow roses with a fine flower, strong fragrance, true garden strength and excellent disease-resistance are very difficult to breed, making them rare indeed,” said Michael Marriott. “This is a rose of superlatives. Its yellow color is unusually rich and the fragrance is unusually strong and appealing.” Austin’s scent expert (rose nose) Robert Calkins gives ‘The Poet’s Wife' a top-ranked score of 5 out of 5 for fragrance, describing it as Old Rose with strong hints of unripe lemon rind, peach and mango that becomes stronger and sweeter with age. For the lay nose, said Marriott, that translates to “a rich fruity citrus fragrance that sweetens.” Marriott has just added ‘The Poet’s Wife’ to Austin’s list of Most Fragrant English Roses.

Details: Repeat-flowering. Very strongly fragrant. The fully double flowers are 4.5-inches in diameter with approximately 80 petals each. The bush is nicely rounded with shiny dark green foliage. Grows to 4-feet tall by 3 ½ -feet wide, taller in warmer areas. Hardy in USDA Zones 5-10. (David Austin 2014, Auswhirl).

‘The Lady of the Lake’ – A resurgence of interest in billowy, flower-laden rambler roses is greatly inspired by the new beauties bred by David Austin Roses. Now, Austin introduces ‘The Lady of the Lake’, its fourth short rambler to be bred for repeat-bloom, fragrance, and heights of 10 to 15 feet. These are ramblers made for climbing arches, trellises, pergolas, walls, fences, obelisks and small trees. They are perfectly scaled to draping structures with flowers and fragrance, without overwhelming them with size or weight.

Though strong fragrance is exceedingly rare in short ramblers, ‘The Lady of the Lake’ is remarkably fragrant with a fresh citrus scent. The flowers are a delicate blush pink. Each opens wide with a boss of golden stamens at the center. The new short rambler joins Austin’s soft pink ‘The Albrighton Rambler’, soft yellow ‘Malvern Hills’ and white ‘Snow Goose’. All four varieties pump out waves of flowers all season long on lax arching stems, making them ideal for climbing garden structures.

Details: Repeat-flowering. Strongly fragrant. The semi-double flowers are 2-inches in diameter with approximately 30 petals each. Grows to 10- to 15-feet tall. Hardy in USDA Zones 7 -10 (to grow in Zones 6 and colder, provide winter protection).

Naming notes: Named after the ruler of Avalon in the legend of King Arthur and in a related poem by Sir Walter Scott. (David Austin 2014, Ausherbert).

About David Austin English Rose Introductions:

The David Austin Roses breeding program focuses on garden performance, including health and disease resistance, romantic color and fragrance, season-long repeat bloom and attractive foliage. Once a breeding candidate satisfies these initial strict criteria, it must then pass the hurdle where its overall charm and beauty determine whether it has ‘the magic’ required to become an official David Austin English Rose. The process is rigorous. From an initial pool of approximately 250,000 candidates, reviewed over an eight to nine-year selection procedure, only two to four varieties are selected each year for introduction as English Roses.

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