Roses forum: David Austin roses for hot Southern California

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Ventura County, California
Aug 17, 2019 3:14 PM CST
I have several DA roses that perform adequately but not as well as I'd hoped. Any suggestions for DA roses that thrive in Southern California's dry climate? My yard doesn't offer them much shade so the sun really hits them.

I am also looking for a DA climber of pink tones to use on an obelisk. I have Evelyn and Mary Rose on two matching obelisks, and after 15 years, they finally had a great season. I believe it's because we had such a wet winter.

Any fertilizer suggestions? I fertilize weekly with organic products and Karma, and must use foliage spray in my backyard since my dogs will eat anything on the ground. I could use any type of organic fertilizer in my front yard as it's dog free, so am open to suggestions.

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
Name: seil
St Clair Shores, MI (Zone 6a)
Roses Garden Photography Region: Michigan
Aug 17, 2019 7:36 PM CST
Unfortunately a lot of DA roses tend to need a lot of water here in the USA. Not all of them but many. They're bred and tested in jolly old DAMP England, not the arid Southwest. I can tell you that Golden Celebration and Graham Thomas are both water hogs here in humid Michigan. I also have Queen of Sweden and Jubilee Celebration and haven't noticed this as much with them.
Sydney, Australia (Zone 10b)
Aug 18, 2019 5:37 PM CST
Much like Seil above I'm not convinced they are roses for climates vastly different to Englands. They pretty much all come to Australia and its not uncommon for many of them to be discontinued within 3 years after introduction here because they frequently do poorly or have giant disease issues, eg I got Jude the Obscure because its often claimed to be clean but here its leaves and canes turn black with spots. My mother the front garden is filled with Austins, by christmas (ie first month of summer) there's a lot of spot issues and defoliation.

Given you have several already I really wouldnt expect any of them to perform better than what youre already experiencing.
Anyone with oryzalin (aka Surflan, Embargo), am looking for a small amount rather than 5litres from manufacturer (min size in Australia....)
SoCal (Zone 10a)
Aug 18, 2019 7:22 PM CST
I have them, but they are not repeat bloomers. No black spots though.
Ventura County, California
Aug 19, 2019 6:52 PM CST
Thank you. My Graham Thomas is huge and nearly always in bloom.
My one year old Princess Alexandra of Kent is full of gorgeous blooms. Overall the Buck roses and Romantica roses outperform my David Austins but I love them too much to admit defeat.
Any fertilizer suggestions?
Name: Rosemary
Sacramento, CA (Zone 9b)
Aug 22, 2019 9:15 PM CST
"I have several DA roses that perform adequately but not as well as I'd hoped. Any suggestions for DA roses that thrive in Southern California's dry climate? My yard doesn't offer them much shade so the sun really hits them."

Oakslesly, last night I came across a David Austin 2019 rose catalog which I purchased, and here are the roses they recommend for hot and dry areas:

The Ancient Mariner (Mid pink, "masses of very large blooms, 4' x 4' for borders and hedges), and also in the lists for best roses in "hot and humid climates" , and "cold climates", and "most fragrant roses" so it must be a real winner!

Grace (apricot), good for pots/containers, mixed borders, and shady areas, 4' x 4', "free-flowering blooms held on broad arching growth"

Boscobel (Coral-pink"very fragrant, upward-facing blooms", 4' x 4', ideal for cut flowers, and mixed or rose border

Gertrude Jekyll (Bright Pink)--Climbing rose, also in the list for shady areas, cold climates, and most fragrant lists (od rose scent) upt o 10ft., ideal for obelisk or pillar, and doorway

The Alnwick Rose (soft pink)--also in the lists for hot and humid climates, cold climates, 4' x 3', Med. Old Rose scent with hint of raspberry, good for pots and containers, rose hedges, mixed and rose border

Olivia Rose Austin (mid pink)--also in the lists for best roses for shady areas, cold climates, hot and humid climates, most abundantly flowering roses lists, "most healthy and tolerant" (meaning most disease resistant), 3 1/2' x 4 1/2'

Vanessa Bell (pale yellow) --Especially fragrant, "large clusters of very pretty, pale yellow blooms, ideal for pots and containers, small spaces, mixed border and rose hedges, 4' x3'

Roald Dahl (apricot)--"bears perfect apricot blooms almost continuously throughout the summer", also noted for being disease-resistant with few thorns, and does well in shady areas as well, and suitable for pots and containers, cut flowers, and rose hedges and borders, and mixed borders.

Tess of the d'Ubervilles (Crimson-red)--"a compact climber" to 8', good for doorways or a 6' wall or fence, with med. old rose fragrance.

Claire Austin (creamy white)-- climbing rose to 12', creamy white, strong "wonderful" myrrh fragrance ("with dashes of meadowsweet, vanilla, and heliotrope, a "vigorous, upright rose" with "pleasingly cupped, pale lemon buds which gradually open to large, creamy white flowers, the outer petals perfectly arranged in concentric circles."

The Mayflower (med. pink)-"A very healthy variety", med. strong Old Rose fragrance, 4 1/2' x 3 1/2', ideal for hedges, borders, and shady areas

Carding Mill (pink, apricot, and yellow blend)--good in pots and containers, small spaces, mixed border, 4' x 3 1/2', "lovely myrhh fragrance.

Tranquillity--open up pure white with a light apple fragrance, 4' x4', good in pots and containers, for cuttings, and mixed and rose border

The Lady Gardener (apricot)--"bears large, quartered rosettes' (4" across), "a lovely Tea fragrance with hints of cedar wood and vanilla", 4' x 4 1/2'. hedges, borders, and cuttings.

Golden Celebration--(rich yellow blooms) "free flowering..with a strong, delicious fragrance..4 1/2' x 4 1/2', mixed border

I think these would be best for my area as well, so I hope listing these Austins in detail will help me remember them!

As far as fertilizing, the catalog suggests feeding them early after pruning and after growth begins in Feb., and after each flush in May, July, and Sept., 6-8 wks. between each feeding, and apply a 3" mulch in the spring.
Zone 9, Sunset Zone 9 (Zone 9b)
Aug 23, 2019 11:19 AM CST
Oaks, I have different growing conditions than you. I get a tad bit warmer in summer and colder in the winter. I find for Austins, where it gets warm, they need only a half day of sun, preferably in the morning. The ones that do well for me (or have done well for me) are Ambridge (hated the scent), Munstead Wood, Pretty Jessica, Princess Alexandra of Kent, Mary Magdalene. Darcy Bussell is also supposed to do well in the heat too. I can highly recommend Mary Magdalene and P A of K. I don't think you can get Pretty Jessica any longer which is a shame.

I have very alkaline soil and water. I find that giving the DA roses some acidic fertilizer (something you would use on hydrangeas, rhodies, etc., helps them for their spring bloom. I only use organic fertilizer so that is all I can speak to.

All of my DA roses are on their own root. Roses on Multiflora rootstock tend not to do well with the alkaline soil here. I also have all my roses on drip and tend to water them a bit more than my other plants, on the days that we can water. They also have at least 3--5 inches of mulch around them to keep their roots cool during the summer. Extra benefit of that is there is no weeding that needs to be done as a result.

Alnwick was not a great rose for me. Pretty sparse on the blooms and no scent that I could detect. The other DA roses listed, I have not grown.
Coastal Southern California (Zone 13a)
Aug 23, 2019 12:32 PM CST
When we first planted Austin roses in Ventura County -- almost 30 years ago -- we found that our foggy/no-winter climate often caused them to bloom sparely while growing very large. That's why we now grow very few of them.

(Oakslesly, we are in Camarillo, in the hills above Pleasant Valley Hospital.)

Now that our climate has grown much hotter and drier, we find that the Austins are among our thirstiest roses. The ones that are flourishing are doing so largely because they get a lot of extra water, delivered by hand.

As it's grown hotter, we now have better luck with Hybrid Perpetuals than we once did -- and even a few Bourbons. Tea Roses tolerate our conditions better than most.

And the reason we have 12 or 13 plants of "Grandmother's Hat" is that it is hands-down the most-successful rose in our conditions -- has been, for many years, and continues to be even as the climate continues to alter.

Thumb of 2019-08-23/jerijen/eb8a86
Thumb of 2019-08-23/jerijen/b3ae41

Zone 9, Sunset Zone 9 (Zone 9b)
Aug 23, 2019 5:12 PM CST
Jeri, your GMH is so pretty! I used to think that there were DA roses (full frilly ones) and then singles and hybrid teas with those raised centers (don't like those). It wasn't until I started getting into roses and learning about them, that I realized there are many roses that look like a DA rose, bloom more than once and have a great scent (plus do well here). I thought it was DA or nothing.

I then fell in love with Vick's Caprice (maybe it was Beth's picture?) and had to get my first stripey rose. You told me that antique rose would not be my last. You are the one who now has me buying Mme Franzeska Kruger, Borderer, Alice Hamilton, Souv de McKinley, Ma Perkins and have (where once DA roses were planted) Portland from Glendora, Yolande and Marchesa. Every time I buy an old rose, I hear your voice in my head telling me, "it is not going to be the last one!" I am still looking for Mme Cruex but I think she is unavailable here in the US, unfortunately. If I knew a quick way to get her here from France (along with a few others--not that I have any room), I would. She was a right pretty little thing.
SoCal (Zone 10a)
Aug 24, 2019 10:12 AM CST
So I have on my cart, GMH, Jeri Jennings, La France, and Treasure Trail. I need to diversify my rose types a bit. Still doing research about them. I wish I could purchase Golden Buddha, I have a little Buddha in the corner of my yard, for my mother, she was a devout Buddhist.
I had Rhododendrons next to my wall for my husband's mother, she used to like rhododendrons, but sadly they didn't do well here so I returned them to Home Depot. Thank goodness for the one year guarantee. The nursery guy said people wanted this type of plant so badly, they knew it couldn't grow here well, but they ordered it anyway. It's like if you have money to give me, I'll take it.
SW Ohio River Valley (Zone 6b)
Aug 24, 2019 10:42 AM CST
I hope LaFrance does well for you. It's one of my favourites and I know a few SoCal rose folks that grow her well.
Ventura County, California
Aug 24, 2019 1:51 PM CST
Many thanks to those of you who took time and effort to answer my questions.
I also love Grandmother's Hat and have two of them that do pretty well.
I love my Pretty Jessica and Wise Portia, both David Austins. They both do well and get some shade. I hope they are still available as they both are wonderful.
Princess Alexandra of Kent, is only on its first season and it is full of blooms. Really gorgeous, and in full sun. (Very unusual in my garden as even with two market umbrellas shading the roses, many still get too much sun.)
Munstead Wood receives more shade than sun but is holding its own.
My Perpetual Hybrids are not doing as well as they did several years ago. Not sure why.
Duchess de Brabant is fantastic on the north side of our house. It's huge and happy and produces lots of flowers in flushes.
Many many thanks for typing out the DA rose list of heat tolerant roses. Much appreciated.

btw, I contacted the Huntington web site regarding rose fertilizers they use. They use Scott's Natural Lawn Care (!) pellets along with liquid seaweed (Grow More brand), Jump Start Plant Tonic (Grow More) and Verde (Humboldt Nutrients). Has anyone tried these products? If so, what were your results?
Once again, many thanks.
[Last edited by oakslesly - Aug 24, 2019 1:54 PM (+)]
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Coastal Southern California (Zone 13a)
Aug 24, 2019 4:35 PM CST
Funny thing . . .

Keith Zary told me once that the "ruffled" forms that Austin put out had ALWAYS crept up in every year's seedlings . . . but that because that form was "unwanted" they were rarely propagated forward.

Then, along came David Austin . . . Suddenly, the beauty of those old forms "caught on" and eventually, more and more folks began to learn about the Old Roses -- the ancestors of them all -- that had survived. And here we are!

Lucky us! We get the best of Old and New . . .

Thumb of 2019-08-24/jerijen/85c993
"Tamalpais Homestead Tea"

Thumb of 2019-08-24/jerijen/13d824
'The Dark Lady'
SoCal (Zone 10a)
Aug 24, 2019 5:13 PM CST
I've been looking at Golden Celebration on a Pinterest, it looks very good, plus it seems like the same yellow as Graham Thomas. But it's good to hear Graham Thomas is a repeat bloomer in Ventura county.
[Last edited by SoCalGardenNut - Aug 24, 2019 5:16 PM (+)]
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Coastal Southern California (Zone 13a)
Aug 24, 2019 6:36 PM CST
Graham Thomas was a scant bloomer for us, in Camarillo.

Golden Celebration (we grow it as a large arching shrub) has been a generous bloomer here with good disease resistance overall.
SoCal (Zone 10a)
Aug 24, 2019 7:45 PM CST
It depends on the location. I used to work in Camarillo, I thought it's sunny then. Do you remember the company Vitesse?
But even in our own garden, we have micro climate. I move my plants around and some plants do better in one location vs another.
I'm curious to know where in Ventura county for Oakslesly.
[Last edited by SoCalGardenNut - Aug 24, 2019 7:53 PM (+)]
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Zone 9, Sunset Zone 9 (Zone 9b)
Aug 25, 2019 4:23 AM CST
Oaks, if you want to take a trip down towards San Diego this weekend, the Barona Resort and Casino is one of the ten US testing sites for DA roses. You get to see them all in action (so to speak) and if you went now, you can tell which ones do best in hot sites.
Name: Seth n Sam .....
W.V. (Zone 6a)
Aug 25, 2019 9:09 AM CST
I'm in zone 6. We have extremely high humidity throughout the summer. And mid 80s to low 90s. Both my Winchester Cathedral and Molineux from DA have been the best growing bushes of my bunch. Not only flowering but growth wise as well. I planted WC from a 1gal it was about 14" tall. And maybe a foot wide. It's now almost 6ft tall on some canes. Loaded with buds. And 3ft wide. In about 4 months roughly in the ground. My molineux has RMV and still growing wonderfully.
SoCal (Zone 10a)
Aug 25, 2019 11:16 AM CST
jerijen said:Graham Thomas was a scant bloomer for us, in Camarillo.

Golden Celebration (we grow it as a large arching shrub) has been a generous bloomer here with good disease resistance overall.

Which one is more thornless? I have a tricky corner situation, I already have to deal with Young Lycidas which is pretty thorny, I don't want another thorny one.
Ventura County, California
Sep 11, 2019 12:35 PM CST
Hello. Just returned from Portland and their rose garden. I noticed nearly every David Austin they have produces blooms half the size of those we get in Ventura County. This surprised me. Any thoughts as to why?

Someone asked where I live in Thousand Oaks. I am in the Old Meadows tract of Thousand Oaks, off Janss Road. Our street dead-ends at the Conejo Creek North park, next to the Thousand Oaks Library.

Someone mentioned Pretty Jessica and Wise Portia, both David Austins. They do beautifully in my yard. Their colors are fantastic and their growth is vigorous and disease free. I believe both have been discontinued, but if you can find them, I urge you to purchase them.

I, too, have two Grandmother's Hat and they do well. Beautiful rose blooms and handle part shade well.

Once again, thanks for the help and suggestions.
[Last edited by oakslesly - Sep 11, 2019 12:38 PM (+)]
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