We have long been a fans of the David Austin “English Roses”, and watched their popularity rocket over the years until they are now known worldwide and probably the most admired group of roses on the planet. There are now hundreds of varieties of “English Roses” available with eagerly awaited new varieties being produced each year. We have recently extended our “English Rose” sales area and now stock over eighty varieties and still growing. This year is no exception and we have included four new varieties. “Cariad” “England’s Rose” “Maid Marion” and “Princess Anne”.
If you have yet to discover “English Roses” please see the “English Rose” section on our web site which carries a brief history and explanation.
We planted a bed of “English Roses” over 20 years ago and they are all still going strong, especially “Graham Thomas”. “Graham Thomas” was among one of the earlier varieties and is certainly one of the best known of the group. This more than any other variety is responsible for the popularity of the group and is now grown all around the world.
The beautiful cup shaped flowers are of medium size, and their colour is an unusually rich and pure yellow that would be hard to match even among Modern Roses. It was quite a colour break through at the time as the rich yellow was entirely missing among Old Roses. The upright growth is both bushy and vigorous and produces a large strong and handsome specimen growing to about five feet.
In recent years David Austin has re-classified many of his larger roses into Shrub/Climbers and this rose comes into that range. It can be grown as either a large shrub up to five feet, or with a little help and less pruning can be grown as a short climber around eight to nine feet. Over the years we have always grown and sold them as shrubs, but last year we grew on quite a few as climbers and they were very successful.
As usual with most of the “English Roses” the perfume is outstanding and this rose is no exception. It is described as having a fresh Tea Rose fragrance, with a cool violet character typical of its colour group. It has won many awards over the years including The Henry Edland Medal For Fragrance in 2000. The James Mason Award from the RNRS in 2000. Winner of the RHS Award Of Garden Merit, for a plant of outstanding excellence. Recently it was voted the World’s No.1 Rose by the World’s Federation Of Rose Societies, The Federation also entered the rose into the Society’s Rose Hall Of Fame, an honour shared with only thirteen other roses.
This outstanding rose was named to commemorate the man who did more than anyone in the 20th century to re-introduce old roses to their present popularity.
Graham Stuart Thomas OBE 1909-2003
Horticulturist. Artist. Author. Poet. Garden Designer.
Garden Advisor to the National Trust for over thirty years and was awarded the OBE for his work in the organisation.