The Gardens at David Austin

A Veritable Riot of Colour

Each summer, our Green Team make the trip up to Albrighton , Shropshire, for a preview at David Austins Nursery. All of the roses at Petersham Nurseries are supplied by David Austin, who is renowned for exquisite quality and fragrance. The trip always provides a unique insight into the processing of the roses, as well as visiting the trial fields and the splendid rose gardens.

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A veritable riot of colour, in beds and borders, along paths and clothing walls and clambering up and over pillars. Every conceivable space is festooned. Walls have climbers and ramblers flowering from bottom to top; pillars have roses wrapped around them like Maypoles and overhead the show continues. The Lion Garden has a mix of perennials and other climbers to set off the show but otherwise it is roses all of the way.

Inventive and imaginative are the ways in which the roses are used and displayed and even though these are gardens spanning over two acres, there is much that you can bring home and apply to the most modest of town plots. Roses in containers and smothering walls and fences, plants pruned to keep them neat in habit (and they are trialling potentially smaller shrub roses at the moment too, with an eye on smaller gardens, balconies and patios).

Even though we are so familiar with the gardens and have visited in winter, spring, summer and autumn before, we always go away better equipped to look after these beauties, to grow different varieties with confidence and to use them in new and different ways and to different effect.

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The Trial Fields

The trial fields are a joy row upon row of hopefuls, the X Factor arena of roses. The trial fields are the future of David Austin roses, with prospective candidates laid out in open fields for five, six, seven years where they are assessed daily, weekly, monthly, annually to record their performance over summer and winter, good and bad alike. The field we walked through is overlooked by Mr Austins house, so close in fact, he can regularly inspect the roses that might be future Chelsea introductions.

The Breeding Program

Health and performance of their roses and the breeding program (50,000 crosses each year, all pollinated by hand, resulting in 150,000 seedlings each year) will benefit from this advance and the cumulative knowledge of rose breeding over five decades and more. We toured the breeding glasshouses and saw how the process begins. The annual budget for the breeding program is close to one million pounds and can take the better part of a decade before three, sometimes four roses are introduced at Chelsea in any one year.

Visit us to chose your own beautiful and fragrant rose, our experts will be on hand to help you in your selection.