Fragrant David Austin English Roses Johnstown Garden Centre, Ireland
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Fragrant David Austin English Roses

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Fragrant David Austin English Roses

David Austin was born in 1926 on the farm where he now lives. He is the son of a farmer and began farming before going into business as a nurseryman in the early 1960s. From an early age, he has been interested in gardening and first turned to plant breeding through a friend of his father's, Mr. James Baker of Baker's Nurseries. James Baker was introducing new varieties of hardy plants, including Russell's lupins, phloxes, delphiniums and so on. In the 1940s, a copy of George Bunyard's book on old roses gave him the idea of crossing old roses with modern roses. The old roses - that is the gallicas, damasks, albas, etc. - had all but died out at that time. His objective being to create new roses in the style of old roses, thus combining the unique charm and fragrance of old roses with the wide colour range and repeat-flowering qualities of modern roses. He was also particularly interested in producing well formed shrubs that would make good garden plants. The first variety he introduced was Constance Spry in 1963, followed by Chianti in 1967 and Shropshire Lass in 1968, they only flowered once in early summer. From these, he developed repeat flowering varieties with similar flowers, the first group being introduced in 1969 and included Wife of Bath and Canterbury. He called these English Roses, as the name seemed to symbolise roses. When Graham Thomas and Mary Rose were introduced at Chelsea in 1983, English Roses quickly gained popularity both in this country and the rest of the world. Since that time he has introduced over two hundred varieties. David Austin started David Austin Roses in 1969, with the objective of introducing English Roses, as other rose nurseries were not particularly interested in them at the time. David Austin was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour by the Royal Horticultural Society in 2003 for his services to horticulture and the Dean Hole Medal by the Royal National Rose Society. He has received an Honorary MSc from the University of East London for his work on rose breeding. He received the lifetime achievement award from the Garden Centre Association in 2004

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