Geoff Hamilton, Austin 1997. Breeding: Heritage X "seedling"
This is one of the most recent of the Austin roses to enter the North American market. I got my plant from Heirloom Roses in St. Paul, OR.
Usually every year I add one of David Austins newer roses to my garden, and this year the only one I have added is 'Geoff Hamilton' Like many people, I am starting to feel there is some redundancy in the English roses, with only small improvements or style changes with each new variety. I wish Mr. Austin would make some "lateral moves" in his breeding work. This is not to say that I don't have a deep appreciation for some of his roses! I think that some of the pinks are exquisite; roses like 'Sharifa Asma' and 'St. Swithun', and 'Mayor of Casterbridge' are all wonderful roses. I guess that is why this newest one, 'Geoff Hamilton' is the one I have added this season; because the pinks seem to be some of the finest of the lot. (There is absolutelly nothing plain about a good pink rose, for after all, pink is the true color of the rose!)
I have admired 'Geoff Hamilton' in the gardens of Heirloom Roses in St. Paul for a couple of years now, before it was listed as a named variety. It is a full, shrubby plant of 4 to 5 feet tall, producing large cupped blooms in clusters. Individual blooms are about 4 inches across, and are the softest warm pink which does not fade too quickly. I think these cupped, full blooms come the closest to my personal idea of the perfect English rose. There is a very pleasant scent when blooms are fresh, but the fragrance seems to dissipate too soon. I look forward to watching this one mature, and I will report on its progress. I should mention that Mr. Geoff Hamilton was a television gardeneing personality who passed away in 96. His legacy is the Barnsdale Gardens which he created in England.
While I have observed the mature plants at Heirloom for several years now, I have only one season's experience with it in my own garden. Therefore, I will hold any comments about its habits till later.
merit rating: None assigned.
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