Roses forum: Best Sources for David Austin Roses

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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
Oct 5, 2012 12:05 PM CST
What is now the best source for David Austin roses? And why?

Four years ago I bought Crocus Rose, Tess of the d'Ubervilles, Abraham Darby, and two lovely damask roses Ispahan and La Ville de Bruxelles along with a few other roses from David Austin Roses in Tyler, TX. These have grown steadily and form the backbone of my rose garden. With most roses in the order I was pleased. With some I was wowed. If all my experience with DA roses had been this good, I'd not have a question.

Last year I made an emergency order to David Austin Roses in March. I got 3 Claire Austin roses which were small, but might eventually catch up and make wonderful plants, one L.D. Braithwaite which I think will amount to something, one William Shakespeare 2000 which I think has disappeared permanently, one Jubilee Celebration which started out three inches tall and has grown not a whit, and one Young Lycidas which has turned out to be the only rose in the shipment with which I am fully satisfied. I wonder whether my bad experience was due in part to placing my order late. Or is this what I should expect from DA roses now?

I find that Graham Thomas on its own roots - just as does Don Juan - leafs out too soon here for weather conditions and ends up being killed by frost. It was not so much of a problem on multiflora rootstock; but Palatine has discontinued shipping DA roses. Because of my experience with Don Juan which doesn't have the freezing problem when grown on Dr Huey rootstock my inclination is to buy DA roses on Dr. Huey rootstock, especially those DA cultivars prone to spring freeze damage.

So, for the sake of argument, suppose I were planning to get Molineux, Golden Celebration, Pegasus, Perdita, Pat Austin, Heritage, Ambridge Rose, Comte de Champagne, Cottage Rose, Sweet Juliet, and Lady Emma Hamilton over the next several years. Some are available from more than one of these suppliers: Heirloom Roses, Chamblee, and David Austin Roses - which supplier(s) should I choose?

Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Charter ATP Member Irises Salvias Xeriscape Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Colorado Enjoys or suffers cold winters Cat Lover
Oct 5, 2012 1:36 PM CST
I have just 2 DAs.. one I got locally so I have no idea what it's grafted on and the other as an own-root from Roses Unlimited. Molineux, from Roses Unlimited, has finally started to look like a rose bush rather than a stick w/a single bloom on the end. Took almost 3 years.
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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Oct 5, 2012 2:10 PM CST


Steve, I would buy as many of these as possible from Pickering, and I even got a lovely Sweet Juliet from (shudder) Hortico last year. They offer the lowest prices and the most viable plants. I loved Palatine's Austins, and the ones from Pickering and Hortico are almost as nice, but avoid Hortico if you can. One of the Austins they sent me last year was mislabeled.


I've had bad results with Heirloom and mixed results with Chamblee's. Both of the Austins I ordered from Heirloom were mislabeled. Chamblee's used to sell great Austins, but the Austins I've bought from Chamblee's in recent years have been woefully inferior.

I've never ordered any from the David Austin website. My local nurseries buy their Austins from that place wholesale. Not only are the prices appreciably lower because their retail markup is not as high as DA's (currently $19.95 as opposed to $26.95), but the local places also subject the plants to close scrutiny and return all of the duds to David Austin, where I suspect they're sent out out to mail-order customers. It's that possibility of buying a nursery reject at an inflated price that's kept me from ever ordering from David Austin directly.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
Oct 5, 2012 7:50 PM CST
Zuzu, Thank You for reminding me of Pickering! I bought a few roses from them this year and they are all doing well. One cannot beat their prices, either. It's an especially good solution where I need to buy three plants to fill a space as I might do with, say, Tamora. I was a bit apprehensive, but I planted a Pickering Sexy Rexy next to a Vintage Garden Sexy Rexy that arrived in my garden a year earlier. By the end of its first season the two plants were essentially equal in size and bloom production. Regarding buying from local nurseries, there really aren't any here except for big box stores. And it's mostly Knockouts and Mr. Lincolns. But sometimes places like S&W, Garden Valley, or RosesTulsa will sell DA roses mail order. I've had middling luck with the first two. It occurred to me that such places might do some culling. If Chamblees is not going to be much better than, say the typical RVR band or the bands I got from VG before I started asking for 12" tall roses, then I'll pass. The six roses I got from Heirloom this year in their half-price sale were almost knee-high on arrival. Not bad, we'll see how they overwinter. I'm pretty sure at least one was mislabeled, though: the two Velvet Fragrance roses grow at different rates and bear different colored flowers.

Toni, I cannot tell you how many roses I have like your Molineux, except for the flower part. Or maybe I can: Two Apricot Nectars from VG that are a full 11 inches high after two seasons in the garden, a three year old Chic from RVR that is six inches high, and a three year old Medallion from RVR that is almost up to my ankles! But that's saying something because, except for Orfeo, the other RVR bands are mostly dead. Given the relative survival rates of bare root roses vs. bands in my garden, I think I could afford to spend three or four times as much for for grafted bare root roses. More reasons to buy Pickering.

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