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Celebrating with English roses

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We put the website up a year ago, and today we celebrate with English roses, the beautiful scented roses created by David Austin.

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David CH Austin and David JC Austin

In June, David CH Austin OBE was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's birthday honours list for services to horticulture.

The path that led to the honour began sometime around 1946, when he was just 20, and “a copy of George Bunyard's book on old roses” gave him the idea of crossing the beautiful old scented roses, which had all but died out, with modern roses.

Modern roses are very beautiful, but wandering through the Portland Rose Garden you often see the wistful expressions of those who find the rose they have just sniffed is unscented.

Austin embarked on fifteen years of cross-breeding the wide colour range and repeat-flowering qualities of modern roses with heavily scented old roses - gallicas, damasks, and albas. He introduced his first variety in 1963. No one thought his idea would catch on.

The son of Shropshire farmers, Austin now oversees one of the world’s largest garden rose breeding programmes with his son, David. He has introduced more than 200 hardy varieties. Their fragrance is wordlessly lovely.

We cannot bring you fragrance, but we will try to keep bringing you some of the old and new, the beautiful and strong.

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