David Austin rose trial at Assiniboine Park

At Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, in the pretty English Garden, gardeners are planting out some David Austin roses, which will be tested for hardiness for the Zone 3 Manitoba climate. In the video, head gardener Craig Gillespie talks about the trial rose bed.

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  1. says

    Thanks Lorraine for posting this. Very good news that they are trying out the David Austin Roses in Winnipeg. I would be very interested to hear which varieties they are trying out and what rootstock they are budded on. Also how they are planning to protect them – if at all. Some of them like The Mayflower will survive zone 4 winters without protection but zone 3 will be a bit more of a challenge!
    I run a number of trials around the States the closest being at the Chicago BG but none in Canada
    I look forward to hearing from you and/or Craig
    Best Wishes
    David Austin Roses in the UK

    • says

      Hi Michael,

      Yes, this is a very exciting trial. Craig mentioned that one of the methods they were considering is to protect the roses with a burlap screen over the winter. The roses are from a local grower, so the rootstock would be fairly hardy, but I’m not sure which species they’re using. I’ll put you in touch with the head of horticulture, who can give you the details. And next spring I’ll try to update readers of this blog about how the roses survive the winter. It would be good news for Prairie gardeners if they could grow Austin roses!


    • Craig Gillespie says

      Hi Michael,

      I believe the rootstock is Dr. Huey.

      The varieties we are trialing include: The Pilgrim, Tea Clipper, Sharif Asma, Falstaff, Mary Rose, Abraham Darby, Graham Thomas, Wisley and Darcy Bussell.

      Thus far they have been a smashing hit with visitors to the garden – I can’t seem to keep the public on the path.

      As the season progresses I can send you updates on performance if you like. The true test will be over the course of fall and winter – which at the very least will prove an exciting experiment.

      From my own personal experience in my home garden, I have overwintered Glamis Castle. So there is hope.


  2. Craig Gillespie says

    I thought that I would provide an update for those that are interested.

    The first flush of blooms for all varieties has now finished. All the varieties have performed well. ‘Abraham Darby’ and ‘Graham Thomas’ provided the longest bloom time, while ‘The Pilgrim’ and ‘Wisley’ have shown to be the most floriferous. All varieties have set bud once again, and ‘Falstaff’, ‘Darcy Bussell’ and ‘The Pilgrim’ have begun a strong second flush.

    Another rose of note at the moment is ‘Emily Carr’, a Canadian Artist series rose that was the last rose in the garden to come into bloom, but is quite spectacular (the reds are this week’s stars of the garden).

    Other strong performers thus far include ‘Oso Easy Paprika’, which looks to be a good low bedding rose, and ‘Honeysweet’, a Buck series rose which stands out for its large uniquely coloured blooms.


  3. says

    We’ve grown the David Austin roses here, just outside Halifax, Nova Scotia, since they have been introduced starting with Constance Spry. Can’t say enough about their beauty and fragrance not to mention that, unlike the old, or heirloom roses, the Austin’s repeat very well.
    We have ran into many problems with the yellow/orange/apricot varieties here with blackspot. Our very humid summers and lots of rain is the problem. I don’t think you’ll have to deal with that like we do. Thank goodness for that.
    My main concern is your winters. Without snow cover you will have them die back to the crown without lots of protection. Most of them do this here also. We have little snow for many weeks in the winter and temps. are in the mid -15-20 range in Jan.-Feb.
    If you’ve purchased them from David Austin in the States, they are on Dr.Huey rootstock, which is not hardy even here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. We purchased 25 varieties from them several years ago to test them and I’ve lost everyone within a four-year term. Planted rootstocks 4″ below ground level to protect them but they did not survive. Total plant winterkill.
    If you purchased them from Pickering or A.J. Bakker they are on Rosa multiflora rootstock and are much winter hardier. Own root from Adamson’s Heritage Nursery in B.C., then they are the best but do not grow as robust as the bud grafted ones do.
    I wish you all the success in the world with this trial out there. I really love these roses as do most who see and smell them. If I can help in any way, please contact me.
    Peggy-Anne Pineau Heirloom Roses Canada

    • says

      Hi Peggy-Anne,

      Looks like you have lots of experience growing Austin roses. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I’ve heard that Dr. Huey is not hardy in Canada, too, so it’s good to know tht Bakker and Adamson’s are more robust.

      Michael Marriot, if you’re monitoring this discussion, can you add anything to Peggy-Anne’s comments?


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