Claire Rose, 1986. Breeding: 'Charles Austin' X (seedling X 'Iceberg')
I was impressed by the beauty of this rose when I first saw it bloom in my garden. It is very much like 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' in bloom quality. It is a wonderful soft blush pink full of many petals that are often perfectly quartered in form. It is supposedly fragrant, but my nose has detected almost no scent from it. (I did get a bit of a whiff from it early one morning, but most of the time there is nothing) I hear from many people that they too can detect no fragrance.
This shrub is quite vigorous, and I used to find it a bit sticklike in habit. However, in my current garden it has made a very full, shapely (but upright) shrub. It's upright habit is best remedied by placing other perennials in front of it to cover the base canes. Perhaps harder Spring pruning would encourage more growth from low on the plant?
Sadly, it is very prone to spotting in wet weather, just like 'Souvenir de la Malmaison'. I forgive it this fault because when it does produce good blooms, they are perfection! This is also the only Austin rose that I find makes an excellent cut flower. Blooms last for well over a week when cut at perfection.
In the end, I'd have to say that 'Claire Rose' rates as one of the best Austins in my garden. If it weren't for the lack of scent, I'd say it was one of my top 3. Of the Austins I still grow, I'd choose 'Sharifa Asma', 'Jayne Austin', 'Prospero', and 'St. Swithun' as the very best for me, with 'Claire Rose' close behind.
merit rating: 7.4
Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 1996-2004