Rose ‘Abraham Darby’

This spring I had to plant a rose. It was not an big issue because I like roses. But I had to plant one for a photoshoot and, because these have to be done several weeks before publication, I rushed out to buy a potted rosebush. But all I could find were recently potted bushes and when it came to the photos the compost would all drop off and I hate ‘faking’ photos. The only roses I could find that were well rooted in the pots were some ‘David Austin’ roses. I know there are legions of fans for these fragrant beauties but, over the years, the majority I have planted got dug up. I am sure that more recent introductions are vastly superior to the earlier varieties but I just had too many disease problems so that, lovely as the blooms were, I couldn’t put up with them.

So it was with a rather heavy heart that I came home with an (outrageously expensive) ‘Abraham Darby’ (AUScot). I put it in a sunny spot, well away from other roses, and gave it a good mixing of garden compost in the soil. I had read that it takes a year or two to settle in and grow well – these are not just standard HTs or Cluster-flowered roses after all. It was actually introduced in 1985 so it is not a modern rose and should grow to about 1.2m high and 1m wide (1.5m x 1.5m according to David Austin Roses) . The large flowers are reportedly too heavy for the stems and tend to nod.

All the new shoots, after I gave it a pretty hard prune, ended in a flower and these were an attractive peachy pink and very fragrant, as I would expect. I did water it in early summer but, as the heatwave took hold it was not given any irrigation, largely because there is a limit to how many cans I am prepared to carry across the garden and this rose never showed signs of distress.

It was deadheaded and then it produced a second flush and it has been growing well and flowering ever since. The flowers have also held themselves up very well but they haven’t has to contend with much rain and I think the drought has produced sturdier stems than usual.

It is early days but I am delighted to report that there has been no sign of any disease and new shoots keep on coming, most with three or four flower buds. It has been a tough year for this rose to get started but it has done really well and I no longer regret the initial cost. I will take a deep second look at David Austin roses in general and perhaps this will not be the first and last I add to the garden


One Comment on “Rose ‘Abraham Darby’”

  1. Paddy Tobin
    August 23, 2022 at 8:38 am #

    The David Austin roses of latter years and proving far more disease and pest resistent than earlier introductions. Generally, they are very good roses.

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