St. Swithun, Austin 1993. Breeding: Mary Rose X (Chaucer X Conrad Ferdinand Meyer)
These flowers are magnificent! They are huge! I have had blooms that were easily six inches across and seemed to weigh a half pound they were so full of petals. Although large, they are never awkward or overbearing....they are always the most refined and subtle roses of the softest warm pink that sometimes has the slightest hint of yellow at the center. On closer inspection, you can see there are many shades of pink present which give it a wonderful play of tones within the bloom.
St Swithun is considered to be an updated version of Austin's pink line of roses. It is an improvement in many ways, but as far as I am concerned, Sharifa Asma is still one of the finest of all the Austin pinks. No other pink has come close to showing the refined shrub habit that Sharifa Asma has, and St. Swithun is no exception. I like both of these shrubs, but for different reasons. If St. Swithun had the growth habit of Sharifa Asma, then I would appreciate it more. It doesn't branch as well as Sharifa Asma....in fact, in the first season, it has shot up 8 huge 6 foot long canes that have shown some branching at the ends. I will let you know how well it does in the coming season.....perhaps it will start to branch more in the second season. (I'm sure that pruning techniques will help in this case, but when I first grow a new Austin introduction, I like to see what its natural growth habit is, without pruning in the first couple years.) Be warned that this will become a very large plant in the Pacific Northwest and California!
flowers are beautiful, the scent is exceptional, and it reblooms quickly.
I find the fragrance to be one of my favourites, although some people
find it too peculiar. If you are looking for a traditional old rose
scent, then this rose will not be your thing! It is one of the
"Myrrh" type scents that David Austin has been working to breed into
his roses, and as such, it has a sort of soapy, candy-like perfume.
(My mother grows this rose also, and she tells me it smells like Juicy
Fruit gum to her!) I like it a lot, but it's not everybody's taste!
merit rating: none assigned
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