The English Roses, bred by David Austin of Shropshire, England are newcomers to world gardening, and as such, are NOT Old Garden Roses. Rather, they can be thought of as "reproductions after a style", which is not to suggest that they are in any way less wonderful than the true OGRs. Their heritage includes Noisettes, Portland Damasks, Teas, Hybrid Perpetuals, Hybrid Teas, and others.
David Austins intention in breeding these new roses is to marry the OGRs with modern shrubs with the hope that they would have the best qualities of both. In many cases (but not all), he has acheived success. Unlike any other group of roses I know, the English Roses are very "climate specific" from variety to variety, and you may need to try some of them to find out which ones will do well in your particular area. Some are well suited to the colder regions that have hot summers, some are better on the west coast, where the winters are wet and mild, and summers dry. There are now several "tried and true" cultivars from the earlier years of his breeding program, and choosing from these will likely prove to be worthwhile. The newer roses from the 90's are to still in their trial period, and many have not yet proven themselves. You may choose to try some of these, but understand that you are testing their merits. I have both older ones, and some of the very newest ones, and there are "keepers" in both groups.
This is a good class of rose to experiment with if you hunger for the one quality that most modern roses lack: FRAGRANCE! Most of the English Roses are exceptionally fragrant. They are also very big shrubs, most of them, so they may not be suitable for small urban gardens where space is at a premium. Some of them are also quite subject to disease, namely Blackspot. In cases where I have found very disease resistant varieties, I will mark them with an * in the chart here. These roses are generally very winter hardy also, with a few exceptions. Most will grow happily in at least zone 5, and some will likely do well even in zone 4.
Click on the names below to see the Austin roses:
Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 1996-2004