This seems to be an especially good rose season. I’m seeing roses covered in masses of bloom everywhere I go. My own new little rose, “The Fairy,” is also blooming profusely, despite an earlier problem with mildew. The David Austin roses we grow have been putting on a splendid show for weeks already with lots more to come. I’m especially impressed this year again with the yellow rose Graham Thomas, one of David Austin’s most popular roses — and it’s easy to see why. The flowers are a soft yellow, darker towards the base of the petals, with the buds a warmer orange tone.
They are not much affected by rain (as some others are), keeping their neat classic rose shape. The fragrance is strong tea rose. This is also one of our most reliable bloomers, almost continuous with a heavier flush again in early fall. It can be grown as a moderate size climber, but we haven’t tried this ourselves.
Our David Austins are grouped together in the rose border, with more varieties in dedicated rose beds for cutting. However they look their best perhaps when grouped with other perenials. I like the way that the hardy geranium “Johnson’s Blue” climbs around the roses, providing a calming blue (fading to white in the centre) and a simple flower shape. Clematis are classic partners for roses. One of my favourites is the recta rubra, which is a non-climbing variety, sending up many red shoots to about 3 ft high interweaving with the surrounding rose branches. The foliage is an excellent companion for pink roses and the delicate spray of white flowers coincides with the first flushes of the roses, making a lovely romantic bouquet.