David Austin Roses

David Austin Roses

Since each of my entries has had a fairytale theme, I might as well keep it up. I love British things. I’m weird that way. I love British novels, poets, Boden, tea, vacations in the Lake District. So last year, when a garden editor came to photograph my garden for her magazine (I say this with glee, but nothing ever ran in print), I asked her about David Austin Roses. I had seen them somehow, somewhere, who knows why, and I loved them. But seeing as how they are from England, I did not think they would grow here in this hot coastal climate (where in my odd microclimate, it freezes in winter even though I am steps to the sea.) So she was very nice and a month later, I received a letter in the mail with recommendations for Austin Roses for hot climates. Yippee! I bought five–four for me and one, a Christmas gift to a gardening friend. Two were climbers that I planned to grow along the front wall and two weren’t.

I could write a lot about all these roses, how I planted them one afternoon when I had Strep throat, how I study them every day, and spray off every aphid, leaf cutter, sucker, mold and mildew while trying to stay organic (all these problems!) and I probably will tell you lots more later, but to spare you from boredom, I have to tell you that the climbers are scaring me. They are positively prehistoric. They are unstoppable. UGLY. THORNY. NO Blooms. But growing like those vines that kept the handsome prince from rescuing his sleeping beauty. Remember Maleficent? She could make some baaad flowers, dragons, too. 

Oh once in a while I get a bloom…just enough to keep me loving them.

Many Austin roses have 99 petals or more on each bloom. They look like paper confections, they smell like myhrr. They are gangly and gorgeous. Yet these vines….how do I get them to bloom? Now that it is cool, I’m tempted to put Super Bloom on them even though I just put Grow Power. It isn’t working fast enough.  I just want to force them to flower–all over my front wall. Pale pink papery floating blooms everywhere on those pink thorns and reddish vines with the tiny sharp green leaves–those vines must sprout out about two inches every day. They stick up into the sky or run over the Bower vine. (Do you think they will kill it?)

The David Austin Web site says as long as they are horizontal, they will keep growing.  What mechanism inside the plant could determine that? Are they smart enough to know what I am thinking? Should I be scared?

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These are the beasts.

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