Rose Horticulturist - David Austin
David Austin started becoming fascinated with roses when he was just a teenager. Very soon, his hobby became his career and became his life. During his lifetime, he released more than 200 new roses and many of them are award winning breed.
David Charles Henshaw Austin
16 February 1926
18 December 2018 (Aged 92)
43 Gold Medals from RHS Chelsea & Hampton Court Palace, OBE in 2007
The Heritage of the Rose, 1988
The English Roses, 1993
David Austin Light Bulb Moment
When David Austin starts his first shoots. His interest only lay with the Old Roses. However due to the fashion in the market at that moment, he also ordered few varieties of modern rose (Hybrid Teas) to compare the 2 groups.
After the comparison, David Austin found that there are attributes that modern rose (Hybrid Teas) possessed which the Old Roses lacked. The wide color range and the ability to repeat flower. This was his light bulb moment, the opportunity to create something entirely new — a rose with the beauty and fragrance of his much-loved Old Roses but with the wide color range and the ability to repeat flower of modern roses.
David Austin Growing in Pains
Just like most of the people, David Austin began the slow process of breeding this new type of rose. Unfortunately, his inexperience revealed his first set of seedlings to fungal disease. However, with time and extraordinary effort, David Austin introduce his first rose (Ausfirst) Constance Spry in 1961. However, at that point of time, modern rose is the fashion in the market and industry professionals told him that nobody would buy these old-fashioned roses.
David Austin is not someone easily give up. He decided to ignore the detractors and sell his roses to the public himself. He also sold a wide range of other roses including Old Roses, climbers and ramblers.
David Austin Comes into Bloom
By 1969, David Austin introduced his first range of repeat-flowering “English Rose” and he reasoned that, the French have the Gallica roses, the Scottish has the Scots, why not the English also have a group of roses to call their own “English Rose”.
The early year was quite a struggle due to the strong competition in between rose nurseries. However, with support from his wife, Pat Austin, combine with the unique combination of attributes his English Rose had to offer, it grew popularity, and the Old Rose style began to enjoy a long overdue renaissance.
David Austin Recognition and Leading the Industry
In 1983, David Austin experiences his first breakthrough when he introduced three English Rose at the Chelsea Flower Show, including the rose named after his good friend and mentor, Thomas Graham (Ausmas). The response from the press and public is overwhelming and the following year also saw the very first gold medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
He dedicated his life for rose breeding and have resulted in many awards, including receiving an OBE in 2007 for services to horticulture, one of his proudest achievements. He famously said: “Every day, I marvel at my good fortune to have been able to make a life out of breeding roses. My greatest satisfaction is to see the pleasure my roses give to gardeners and rose lovers around the world.”
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