David C.H. Austin

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David Austin English Rose 'Mary Rose' 1983 (named after the ship Mary Rose) in the Albury, New South Wales Botanical Gardens.
Rosa 'Othello' (named after the tragedy Othello) in the Volksgarten (Vienna)

David Charles Henshaw Austin OBE (born 16 February 1926) is a rose breeder and writer who lives in Shropshire, England.[1] His emphasis is on breeding roses with the character and fragrance of Old Garden Roses (Gallicas, Damasks, Alba roses, etc.) but with the repeat-flowering ability and wide colour range of modern roses such as Hybrid Teas and Floribundas.

Career[edit]

His first rose, 'Constance Spry', was introduced in 1963. In 1967 and 1968 he introduced 'Chianti' and 'Shropshire Lass' respectively. Although these first roses bloomed only once in spring or early summer, they led, in 1969, to a series of remontant (repeat-flowering) varieties, including 'Wife of Bath' and 'Canterbury' (both in honour of the English author Geoffrey Chaucer). Austin's roses soon became the most successful group of new roses in the twentieth century.

Though Austin's roses are not officially recognised as a separate class of roses by, for instance, the Royal National Rose Society or the American Rose Society,[2] they are nonetheless commonly referred to by rosarians, at nurseries, and in horticultural literature as 'English Roses' (the term he uses) or 'Austin Roses'.

Since its founding in 1969, he and his firm David Austin Roses in Albrighton, near Wolverhampton, have introduced over 190 rose cultivars. Cultivars have been named in honour of his family, well-known rosarians, geographical landmarks in Britain, historical events, and British writers, particularly Shakespeare and Chaucer, and their works or characters. For instance, roses have honoured such diverse entities as the rosarian and artist Graham Thomas and King Henry VIII's flagship, the Mary Rose.

In the twenty-first century, Austin separated his roses into four groups as a guide to further developments. The four groups are

  • the Old Rose Hybrids, roses with the appearance of the Old Roses but recurrent, healthy and with a wide range of colours
  • the Leander Group, often with Rosa wichurana in their breeding, with larger bushes and arching growth tending to make them pillar or low climbing roses
  • the English Musk Roses, based on 'Iceberg' and the Noisette roses, with pale green, slender and airy growth
  • the English Alba Hybrids, with tall, rather blue-leaved bushes like the old Alba roses.[3]

In 2003, David Austin was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour by the Royal Horticultural Society for his services to horticulture[4] and the Dean Hole Medal from the Royal National Rose Society. He has received an Honorary MSc from the University of East London for his work on rose breeding.[5] He received the lifetime achievement award from the Garden Centre Association in 2004 and was awarded an OBE in 2007.[1] In 2010, he was named a "Great Rosarian of the World".[6]

Books[edit]

  • Austin, David (1990). The heritage of the rose (rev. ed., repr. ed.). Woodbridge: Antique Collector's Club. ISBN 1851490205. 
  • Austin, David (1992). Old roses and English roses (repr. ed.). Woodbridge: Antique Collector's Club. ISBN 1851491503. 
  • Austin, David (1993). Shrub roses and climbing roses : with hybrid tea and floribunda roses (repr. ed.). Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club. ISBN 185149166X. 
  • Martin, Clair G. (1997). 100 English roses for the American garden. New York: Workman. ISBN 0761101853. 
  • Austin, David (2010). David Austin's English roses. Woodbridge: Garden Art. ISBN 1870673700. 
  • Lawson, Andrew; David Austin (2011). The English roses (rev. ed.). London: Conran Octopus. ISBN 1840915544. 
  • David Austin wrote the foreword for Beales, Peter (1998). Botanica's roses : encyclopedia of roses. Random House. ISBN 0091835925. 
  • His annual free catalogue David Austin Handbook of Roses, mainly devoted to Austin Roses but also listing many other varieties (often in the Austin roses pedigree) on sale, contains information on roses and their care in general, as well as many rose photographs.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "David C.H. Austin OBE". Davidaustinroses.com. 2007-06-16. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  2. ^ "American Rose Society". Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Austin, David; Lawson, Andrew (2005). The English roses. London: Conran Octopus. pp. 70, 132, 172, 206. ISBN 1840914475. 
  4. ^ ""David Austin English Roses" ICONS a Portrait of England". Icons.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  5. ^ "A Plant Hunters, Plant People, Garden Designers, Landscape Architects of Note from". PlantsGalore.Com. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  6. ^ "David Austin 2010 "Great Rosarian"". Gardennewsbreak.com. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 

External links[edit]