Michael Marriott, David Austin Roses' senior rosarian, shares advice for growing the company's new blooms.
This spring, David Austin Roses released four new blooms for North American gardeners. Each has traits common to David Austin roses-heady fragrance, romantic, lush petals, disease-resistance-and each is a repeat bloomer that will color your garden for months. The Lady Gardener is an apricot-hued bloomer, while the Thomas a Becket is a shrubby red rose. Maid Marion boasts a sweet pink color, and the pale-pink Albrighton Rambler is the company's first repeat-blooming rambler rose. Here, senior rosarian Michael Marriott answers our questions.
What excites you most about this new crop of roses?
The Lady Gardener has the most wonderful fragrance. For quite a long time, rose breeders ignored fragrance, and it's really a shame. Roses are exceptional because there's such a wide range of fragrances. This one in particular smells very much like China tea with hints of cedarwood and vanilla. It's received a fragrance rating of five out of five.
Roses can be daunting. What tips do you have?
I always say there are two secrets: First, choose a good variety of rose. Then, prepare the ground really well. If you can get those two things right, the rest is really very easy. Prepare the ground by adding a generous quantity of well-rotted matter from your local nursery before planting. And, rather than having a pure rose garden, mix it up a bit with other plants. This encourages healthy roses free of pests.
You provide customers with garden design services free-of-charge-what's the process?
Customers just need to send in the details of what they want-ideally with some photographs of the space-and any preferences in terms of color and type of plant. Garden design is really very simple, but I know the best roses for different parts of the states and the most reliable blooms. Customers are typically really happy.