The Origins of David Austin Roses' Names

If you are a rose lover, you have likely heard of David C. H. Austin (1926-2018), the greatest British rose breeder whose name is synonymous with roses in the 20th century and beyond. In 1961, he introduced his first rose, and over the past 60 years, he has bred over 280 rose varieties, each making a fantastic contribution to any garden.

Do you know how David Austin named his roses?

  • Family

David Austin named his roses in a few different ways. Some he named after family members, like the apricot rose named after his father, "Charles Austin(1973)", which, although discontinued by David Austin Company, has parented some good varieties, including two very famous ones: Graham Thomas(1983) and Golden Celebration(1992).

David Austin Roses Naming 1
  • Shakespeare

David Austin found inspiration in Shakespeare's writings and named many roses after them. In 1987, he released William Shakespeare(1987), but the market's reaction was not good. To make it different from the 1987 version, he introduced another dark red rose in 2000 named William Shakespeare 2000 (2000). They planted a large bed of William Shakespeare 2000 in Shakespeare’s birthplace Stratford to express their respect and love for Shakespeare.

Juliet (1999), known as the ‘£3 million rose,’ was the first of David Austin’s cut roses to be released. After over fifteen years of intensive breeding, Juliet combines the beautiful cupped rosette form of old roses with a very contemporary color. Juliet (1999) is not Sweet Juliet (1989) and is only available to growers in the florist industry.

    David Austin Roses Naming 2
    • Chaucer

    Geoffrey Chaucer was an English poet and author. Widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages. And Chaucer must be one of David Austin's favorite poets.

    David Austin Roses Naming 3
    • British Celebrities

    David Austin also named some roses after British celebrities, including poet, novelist, artist, actor and outstanding gardener.

    Constance Spry(1886-1960) was a British educator, florist and author. Her influence in floristry remains strong in the modern era. In 1961, David Austin's first rose introduction was named after her and is considered to be the foundation of his "English rose" series.

    Graham Stuart Thomas(1909-2003) was an English horticulturist and best known for his work with garden roses. In 1983, David Austin named Rose Graham Thomas(1983) after his name. And this rose is the most awarded variety in all DA roses: 43 awards won!

      David Austin Roses Naming 4


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