A Riot of Roses at David Austin HQ – An Access All Areas Tour of the Gardens, Glasshouses, Breeding Program, Trial Fields … and musings on Fragrance in the summer and autumn garden –



A superb display from Rambler Phyllis Bide – several stunning specimens of this cottage garden favourite hroughout the gardens .
Hyde Hall in a container – at least 40 litre pot (think a half barrel as a minimum), with John Inness No. 3 compost – regular feeding and a lot of water!




Clematis to take over from early flowering ramblers to extend the season





The same English Roses can often be pruned to achieve taller – and shorter – plants in the same garden, using the same variety


Strong lines – paths, hedging, beds – allow the exuberance of these roses to be this wild, yet still contained












Use ramblers to twine over the top of pergolas – with climbers to clothe the pillars



Simply Stunning!










The Gardens at David Austin Roses, Albrigton, Shropshire

They may have been battered by the rains but how beautiful are these gardens still! A veritable riot of colour, in beds and borders, along paths and clothing walls and clambering up and over pillars. Every conceivable space is festooned. Walls have climbers and ramblers flowering from bottom to top; pillars have roses wrapped around them like Maypoles and overhead the show continues. The Lion Garden has a mix of perennials and other climbers to set off the show but otherwise it is roses all of the way.

Inventive and imaginative are the ways in which the roses are used and displayed and even though these are gardens spanning over 2 acres, there is much that you can bring home and apply to the most modest of town plots. Roses in containers and smothering walls and fences, plants pruned to keep them neat in habit (and they are trialling potentially smaller shrub roses at the moment too, with an eye on smaller gardens, balconies and patios).

You can swoon through each of the gardens and enjoy the sights and smells, and you can look more closely to see how they have been pruned and trained – and keep and eye on the aspect as there are shadier spots here too and north-facing walls that are just as bountifully rosed-up as the west and southerly aspects.

I think I’m quite well versed now in ‘rose lore’ but the day was superb in many ways –

  • seeing roses grown this well, and especially mature specimens
  • refreshing for me pruning (when, how, when), deadheading, training, feeding, watering and pest control techniques
  • underlining the needs of growing roses well in containers
  • the importance of choosing the right variety for the plot you’ve got – and how versatile many of these English Roses can be
  • having them displayed in contemporary as well as traditional settings, being reminded they can suit a wide variety of garden styles and –
  • with ornament, garden furniture and sculpture and –
  • in gardens of very different design and atmosphere and reinforcing some of the principles of design
  • seeing such a wide selection of roses and getting my nose into them, especially less well-known varieties
  • really rather liking the creams and yellow – so ‘on trend’ in fashion and lifestyle arenas  – but really my heart still belongs to Lady Emma Hamilton!

…. even though I am familiar with the gardens and have been here in winter, spring, summer and autumn before – I go away better equipped to look after these beauties, to grow different varieties with confidence and to use them in new and different ways  – and to different effect. I already have plans for a pergola walkway and more roses in pots … and I brought home The Poet’s Wife, a delightful fragrant warm yellow rose for my own garden.

The Trial Fields

The trial fields (featured below) are the future of David Austin roses, with prospective candidates laid out in open fields for five, six, seven years – where they are assessed daily, weekly, monthly, annually to record their performance over summer and winter, good and bad alike. The field we walked through is overlooked by Mr Austin’s house, so close in fact, he can regularly inspect the roses that might be future Chelsea introductions.

Breeding Program

With the introduction of Olivia Rose Austin, they believe there is a real quantum leap in the health and performance of their roses and the breeding program (50,000 crosses each year, all pollinated by hand, resulting in 150,000 seedlings each year) will benefit from this advance and the cumulative knowledge of rose breeding over five decades and more. We toured the breeding glasshouses and saw how the process begins …

The annual budget for the breeding program is close to £1million and can take the better part of a decade – before three, sometimes four, roses are introduced at Chelsea in any one year. Only recently, the candidates for release that had been named and chosen were scrapped because the roses coming through in the following year and years ahead were thought to be so much better, this quantum leap forward, that pretty much the whole £1million was written off and the next season roses brought forward. Tough decisions but they want their roses to be the best they can be and the future is brighter still …

The hand pollinated roses and glasshouses filled with fluttering tagged and labelled rose hips are the start.

The trial fields are a joy – row upon row of hopefuls, the X Factor arena of roses. I’d like to think I’ve already seen those roses that will be introduced in 2017, 2018, 2019 … maybe even 2020. If you look closely, you might see them too!





There’s a red/cerise climber in the middle here that I liked the look of last year – this might be a contender …
I like this tall softly ruffled pink with yellow eye too …


Budding in the field

Here we have the stock ready for picking and dispatch. They grow 600,000 roses here at Albrighton each year.



Experimenting with peat free growing medium here





Hand pollinating a rose from pollen collected from another variety or species


Preparing bud wood





I’m reposting this 2016 story by way of compensation for not getting to Chelsea Flower Show myself this year, though will drink it all in off the telly I am sure. I’ll be at Hampton Court Flower Show and indeed are giving two presentations there on the Main Stage and the Cookery theatre. Details to follow when we have firmed up the content.

This piece is also relevant as I co-hosted a workshop at Petersham Nurseries yesterday, sitting outside by the planted border, beneath a blue sky, and talked all things fragrant. Roses of course, in all their myriad forms and uses, but also climbers (Trachelospermum jasminoides, Jasminum officinale, Lonicera, Akebia, some Clematis), perennials – the Salvias, Agastache, the vast array of Lavenders, Nepeta … shrubs – Abelia, Pittosporum tibia, Buddleja, Choisya, Philadelphus, Myrtle – all of the scented-leaf Pelargoniums and the breadth of herbs. A lovely garden tour and in a beautiful setting too. Detailed planting lists follow.

By way of notes, I turned to Stephen Lacey and his excellent book on the Scented Garden. The planting lists are at the end of the piece, below, and are mine. I hope you find them useful and as I say, Stephen Lacey’s book is a great read.

Scented Garden in Summer & Autumn
Tuesday 21st May 2019


“Welcome to this workshop looking at those plants that can enhance our summer gardens with delicious scents, as well as being beautiful in other ways too. Elements of design, consideration of placement of plants and planting combinations, the evening garden, trees, shrubs, perennials, tender plants that add to our enjoyment of the months ahead.

I’d like to start with an article now by Stephen Lacey, who writes wonderfully about scent, and which is right on point for our discussions, far more eloquent than me, a pleasure to read and a springboard for our talk today. Plant suggestions follow and some Zen comments I particularly like from another author, Jennifer Peach-Rhind.

Stephen Lacey

Scent is the most potent and bewitching substance in the gardener’s repertory and yet it is also the most neglected and least understood. The faintest waft is sometimes enough to induce feelings of hunger or anticipation, or transport you back in time and space to a long-forgotten moment in your childhood. It can overwhelm you in an instant or simply tease you, creeping into your consciousness slowly and evaporating almost the moment it is detected. Each fragrance, whether sweet or spicy, light or heavy, comes upon you in its own way and evokes its own emotional response.

But although scent adds such a pleasurable layer to our enjoyment, few of us treat it all seriously – it remains an optional extra in the composition of a garden, rather than an integral part to be managed and manipulated for maximum impact. We may have the off scented plant here and there, but we rarely plan for specific effects or pursue deliberate themes. Often we do not realise a plant is scented until we acquire it, for catalogues and reference books frequently make no mention of scent in their descriptions. And even if they do, it is rarely with a precise description of a precise flavour.

There are of course many good reasons why we fail to use scent effectively. First, although the nose can be highly sensitive, we seldom take the trouble to identify what we are smelling and to put our impressions into words. Consequently, we have not developed a means of comparing and classifying scents and our vocabulary for describing them is very primitive. The flavour of our food and drink comes from our sense of smell. If you hold your nose while you eat and drink, you will only receive general impressions of sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness through the taste buds in your mouth. It is because of this close relationship between taste and smell, and because most of our smelling is done through our mouth, that when we do attempt to describe a scent, it is so often in terms of foods; lemon, honey, mint, blackcurrant, raspberry, pineapple, curry, chocolate, vanilla, coconut, clove and almond.

To make description and comparison even more difficult, each of us has different sensitivities to scents and each of us reacts to them in different ways. Some people catch the most elusive flavours while others have a relatively weak sense of smell and appreciate only the sledgehammer scents. Most of us have favourite scents and scents we detest; sometimes our reactions are inexplicable, sometimes they are associated with places, people and events in our past.

Fragrances are themselves highly complex. They consist of a number of compounds that ebb and flow according to the weather conditions and the life cycle of the plant. They can change and disappear from one moment to the next and be quite different when savoured at close range than at a distance. So we can never exactly predict how they will taste and how we are going to react to them. But these uncertainties make the use of scent a more challenging and intriguing subject for the gardener.

By being more aware of scents, nosing them carefully whenever you encounter them, trying to identify their predominant qualities and seeing whether you can pick up the same notes in other scents, you can slowly educate your palette, exactly as a wine taster does.

Having said all this, scent is not the most important consideration for a garden-maker. It is the visual impact of the composition, the interplay of colours, shapes, forms and textures, which is paramount. Gardens need an overall design, and planting schemes need structure, harmony and seasonal spectacle. If these are lacking, no amount of scented sorcery can compensate. Scent is an undercurrent in the planting process, which can add another layer of pleasure to the composition and help reinforce a chosen mood.

The pleasant fragrances are extremely diverse.

Exotic Scents
A group everyone should recognise is the ‘exotic’ scents – the heavy, tropically sweet perfumes possessed by flowers such as Jasminum officinale, Nicotianas, clerodendrum, jonquils, tuberose and Lilium regale. The scent is not delicate and piercing but is thick and heavy and often has a rather foetid base note. This is most noticeable when you are smelling the plant at close range when the flower is fading. One flower whose scent turns very quickly from sweetness to decay is Hemerocallis lilio-asphodelus (H. flava), that graceful daylily; as soon as the blooms fade, they begin emitting the foulest stench. Many scents in this category have distinct flavours that are full of character.

Trachelospermum, stephanotis, Pittosporum tobira, citrus flowers, seem to me to have a definite taste of bubble-gum, and most are free of any hint of decay. There is a whiff of mothballs, not only in the hedychirium but also in Carissa grandiflora and Hosta plantaginea. Philadelphus coronaria, the cottage garden’s mock-orange, is deliciously fruity but its heady, cloying quality puts it squarely in this group. This group comprises many white-and night-scented flowers.

Spicy Scents
Next there are the spicy scents. At one end of the group are the viburnums like V. carlesii and V. juddii; their scents verge on the exotic but their clove base notes nudge them into this group. These scents are never unpleasant, even in quantity; they are among the most exciting scented shrubs to use for a fragrant avenue. Similar sweet clove scent is found in some stocks, phlox, sweet rocket, wallflowers, daphnes, Lonicera x americana and of course, pinks and carnations. The scents vary from plant to plant in the degree of sweetness and spiciness, and in some flowers like those of Rhododendron trichostomum, the fragrance is almost pure clove. White and pink are the predominant colours.

Aniseed can be detected in nearly all cowslip-scented flowers, such as corylopsis, Clematis rehderiana and in many primulas and I think of these are belonging to the spice group. Yellow is the main colour here. Different spicy scents, some with nutty and peppery seasoning and with different degrees of sweetness, come from rhododendrons like R. Fragrantissismum, Magnolia stellate, witch hazels (Hamamelis), Cestrum parqui, Hermodactylus tuberosus, wintersweet and from many roses. There is a mixed bag of colours here.

Almond and Vanilla
Then there are the vanilla and almond scents. These are ‘foody’ and not too sweet, and are fortunately quite common in garden flowers, especially among woody plants. Included: Clematis armandii, Clematis flammula and Clematis Montana, abeliophyllum, heliotrope, pieris (sometimes), azarea, Choisya ternata and cherries such as Prunus x yedoensis. White and pink are the principal colours.

Pea scents
Next come the pea scents. Many members of the pea family share a distinctive scent. This is worthy of note since scents within a family are usually so diverse; sometimes members of a genus have similar flavours but you only have to look at roses and scented-leaved salvias to see that it is safer to work plant by plant. Sometimes the pea scent is light and sweet, as in coronillas and wisteria; sometimes it is slightly heavy and musty, as in laburnum and some brooms and lupins, but is always unmistakeably pea. You can place acacias, which are also members of the family, in this category; they can veer towards sweetness and mustiness. Yellow is the main colour here and there is much similarity in flower shape.

French Perfumes
At Petersham, we refer to the next group ‘French Perfumes’, though one or two are more like cheap suntan lotion. Included here are all those scents that are piercingly sweet but flowery, refined and without too much spice and tropical heaviness; Convallaria (Lily of the Valley), Mahonia japonica and skimmias, sweet peas, cyclamen and mignonette, hyacinths (in spite of their foetid undertones) and Clematis heracleifolia – and the better scented lilacs. The violet scents also belong here – they are sharply sweet and sophisticated. A few of the French perfumes linger in the air but most require repeated sniffing and some, especially the violet scents, tire the senses quickly and you have to leave intervals between inhalations.

Rose scents are usually left in a category of their own, although they are varied and complex. Most roses have some hint of what you would recognise as a typical ‘rose’ perfume; it is also found, to my nose at least, in some crab apples and Japanese apricots. Perhaps the richest of the true rose scents is found among the old shrub roses, where the sweet French perfume is shaded with incense and spice, and among the modern shrub roses, climbers and Hybrid Teas, where it is blended with fruit and tea. The spicier scents seems to be the most pervasive in the air – the Rugosas, Hybrid Musks, Noisette and Synstylae ramblers roses; incense and fruit can often be detected in these.

Often there is a dominant flavour in the rose scent and it is worth identifying this for use in scented schemes. Clove is clearly evident in the Rugosas and the climbing Blush Noisette. The tea scent is found in Lady Hillingdon, Gloire de Dijon and in Graham Thomas. Fruity scents abound – raspberry in many Bourbon and Hybrid Perpetual roses (Lady Emma Hamilton of course), orange in The Garland, banana in R dupontii.

There is a strange scent, pleasant but lacking sweetness, apparent in some roses, which the experts call ‘myrrh’, it smells like cold cream and calamine lotion (and aniseed). It is found in Belle Isis, Felicite et Perpetue, Constance Spry and Little White Pet. Wollerton Old Hall has it in spades.

The fruit scents encompass a range of delicious fragrance. The fragrance is more often warm and full than sharp; sometimes the scent of a particular fruit dominates, but usually it is shaded by other flavours into a fruit cocktail. Lemon seems to be the main flavour for evening primroses, Magnolia grandiflora and Magnolia sinensis, boronias, Mirabilis jalapa, Primula florindea and Primula x kewensis; banana is Magnolia fuscata and Muscari macrocarpum; plum in freesias and Iris graminea; pineapple in Cytissus battandieri; raspberry in Edgworthia chrysantha and some say, mignonette; apricot in Amaryllis bella-donna, gardenia and the shrub Heptacodium jasminoides. Other magnolias and honeysuckles deliver a well-balanced fruit cocktail.

The honey scents are equally mouth-watering. The fragrance is rich and sticky-thick in Crocus chrysanthus, mahonia aquifolium, crambes, alyssum, Euphorbia mellifera ad sarocococcas. It is more flowery in buddlejas and shades into ‘musk’ on Olearea moschata.

Rogue Scents
Finally, we have a category for rogue scents that do not fit into any of the main groups. In this category we put scents that are pleasant but not particularly sweet – the milk of magnesia of Drimys winteri, the chocolate of Cosmos atrosanguineus.

Scented Foliage
Some of the flower scents are also found in leaves, but here they are less sugary. This is because in leaves scent has a different function; its purpose is to repel not attract. Scent is used as protection against disease and many of the compounds found in leaf scents are strongly antiseptic – oil of eucalyptus, thyme and clove are examples – and play an important role in the composition of medicines. Scent is also used to discourage insects and browsing animals by presenting astringent tastes – some of the volatile oils act as natural herbicides.

Accordingly, leaf scents tend towards the pungent, bitter and medicinal. How they are released depends of how they are stored. Where the essential oil is in capsules deep inside the leave, it is released by rubbing or breaking. Where it is cells close to the surface of the leaf, you need only brush against it lightly. And where it is actually secreted onto the surface of the leaf, you can usually smell it without disturbing the leaf at all. Hot sunshine causes some scents to oxidise, while others seem to be most evident after rain.

Leaf scents are usually simple in composition than flower scents, perhaps because the subtleties of fragrance are not so important when you are producing a repellent rather than an attractant, but there are more of them, and leaf scent groupings inevitably contain a diversity of flavours.

There are few really nasty odours among leaves but Salvia sclarea turkestana, the tall biennial with white and pinkish-mauve flowers that is such a part of grand herbaceous borders, has a nasty sweaty aroma.

The meaty scent of clerodendrum foliage is awful and you notice it too sometimes in the flowers. There are no leaves with a fragrance comparable to the exotic scents of flowers, but many have warm spice scents.

They range from the culinary herbs like bay thyme, basil, marjoram and rosemary to shrubs like myrtle. Curry-scented Helichrysum italicum belongs here. Most of these scents are released into the air by heat. Aniseed scents come in a purer form in leaves than flowers – and supreme examples are fennel, Primula ansisodora and Agastache foeniculum. The liquorice scent of Myrrhis odorata is quite close and included here.

There are few leaves with scents of vanilla, almond, pea and French perfumes. But rose scents are found in the leaves of members of the Geranium family. Here the scent has few of the perfumed top notes of rose flowers but is made aromatic with fruit, mint and spice. Among pelargoniums, P Attar of Roses is especially good and among Geraniums, G macrorrhizum and G endressi. The musky, honey scent is found in oleareas.

Fruit scents abound, and in the leaves the fragrances are generally sharper than in flowers. Lemon verbena and Pelargonium Citronellas are as bitter as sherbet; in lemon thyme and bergamot, the lemon is blended with spice; and in lemon balm and Eucalyptus citriadora, the smell is more like lemon soap. Bitter zest of orange comes from Houttuynia cordata, a warmer aromatic orange from Pelargonium graveolens. The best blackcurrant scent is found in salvias like S microphylla and on hot days, wafts the blackcurrant into the air. The western red cedar, Thuja plicata, has a resinous pear drop scent, the giant fir, Abies grandis, smells of grapefruit. Salvia rutilans has a delicious pineapple fragrance. And apple is found in Rosa eglanteria, camomile and mixed with mind, in applemint. The leaves of walnuts are remarkable fruity and the scent often hangs in the air. The orange peel of rue is very pungent.

Other leaf scents do not resemble the fragrances of flowers. First there are the camphorous and pungent smells from plants like achillieas, and most artemesias, tansy and santolina. The group includes some of the best grey leaved plants so they are always well represented in gardens. Most of these have to be rubbed for the scent to be released.

Resinous scents are common among leaves. They range from the turpentine of pines and other conifers, through the cedarwood of Hebe cuppresoides, the gummy resin of cistus, the fruity resin of thujas, abies and Dictamnus albus. Most of these infuse the air on warm days and on a summer’s evening the flower spikes of dictamnus are so covered in flammable oil you can set fire to them; the scent is sharply flavoured with lemon.

Mint and eucalyptus scents are very similar. They share a piecing top note and shade into each other in many leaves. Most eucalyptus species have some kind of medicinal fragrance, and so do most lavenders, though sweetness and fruit often softens them. Mint scents are also often blended with some fruit or wintergreen, as in prostantheras, catmints (nepeta), calaminthas and elscholtzia. They are at their coolest and most refreshing in spearmints and peppermints of menthas and in Pelargonium tomentosum.

Scents in the miscellaneous category include the fresh green scents of parsley and celery, the musty scent of ferns and the scent of wintergreen, Gaultheria procumbens. Scents can also be found in places less obvious than flowers and leaves. Many roots are fragrant. The best-known are those are Iris Florentina, which are scented of violet; angelica, herb bennet, which are scented of clove, and magnolia. It is always a pleasant surprise to come across them, as you are digging in the border or taking root cuttings – but they take little place in the devising of scented schemes.

Sites for Scented Plants and the Gardeners’ Perfumery
There are three points to bear in mind when choosing places for scented plants in the garden: how and when the scent is released and what sort of scent it is. All pleasantly scented flowers need to be in reach of the nose and the most pleasantly scented leaves within reach of the fingers, or the feet. This really means that scented plants ought never to be far from the paths – certainly not at the back of the borders or separated from you by water or prickly undergrowth. The exceptions are those scented leaved plants that float scent on the air, but which never seem to have much scent close too – such as the cistuses.

Flowers that are free with their scent, such as Jasmine, honeysuckles and the Rugosa roses, so not have to be close to paths but I would never think of putting them so far away as to deny yourself the chance of drinking deeper draughts of their fragrance. Mahonias and sarcococcas will guide you through the garden, to a winter garden perhaps. Osmanthus will guide you to the spring borders and Philadelphus to an iris or peony trail. Roses of course will lead you to the roses and summer displays.
Very small scented plants, such as alpines and dwarf bulbs, need to be lifted off the ground using troughs and pots, raised beds and window boxes. Planting by at the tops of a flight of steps will enable you to trail plants down and enjoy their scent without bending down.

Scents come and go in tune with the life cycle of the plants and atmospheric conditions and if we are to use them effectively, we must discover exactly when they appear. We must know its flowering season. Plants that open in the coldest of months ought to be grown close to the house and beside paths in regular use. Unless you go out frequently to pick flowers for the house, their scents can easily be wasted in they are in far flung corners of the garden.

Leaf scents may also be seasonal. The majority of spice scents are at their best on a hot summer’s day. Although Cistus are evergreen, they also need heat to reveal their gummy fragrance and it is their young leaves that are richest in flavour. Nothofagus Antarctica smells strongly only in the spring and the Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) produces its sweet caramel scent only when its leaves are falling in the autumn.

Some flowers reveal their scent as temperature cools in the evening. These night-scented bloomers include jasmine, tobacco flowers, verbena, honeysuckles, night-scented stock, phlox, sweet rocket, Cestrum parqui, daturas, evening primroses (Oenothera), petunias and Daphne laureola. The scents are mainly exotic or spicy, though there is a touch of fruit from honeysuckle, evening primrose and mirabilis. Clearly, these must be assembled around windows, patios and wherever you might sit outside in the evening.

The complexity of scents, and the fact that many have elements in common, means you should never encounter serious clashes of flavour. The main worry is drowning one scent with another – or having too much of a good thing – Jasmine and Sarcococcas can both be powerful presences in a garden.

If you are planning on bringing scents together, you might want to create specific marriages, choosing ones that you think will positively enhance each other. This involves dealing with them in terms of harmonies and contrasts, just as we do in matching colours. For close harmonies we will be selecting scents from the same group. For bowl of fruit scents – Cytissus battandieri, an apple scented rose, a blackcurrant scented sage and lemon verbena – or a clove pomander – pinks, sweet rocket and Lonicera x Americana.

Instead of choosing plants that perform simultaneously, we can also arrange for a single scent scheme that lasts for several months. If we plant one area with Mahonia aquifolium, crambe, alyssum and sarcococcas we would give ourselves a personal honeypot.

Colour can point you towards an appropriate scent. If you decide on a yellow scheme somewhere why not enhance it with injecting some lemon fragrances; a bronze and white scheme could be flavoured with chocolate and peppermint. Many plants have exactly the scent of their appearance – raspberry-scented, raspberry-ripple coloured rose Ferdinand Pichard, or gold-brown, honey-scented Euphorbia mellifera.
From here, we really are entering the realms of perfumery. Rose, lavender and philadelphus – strikes a very sophisticated chord …

Stephen Lacey


Catalpa bignonioides
Cedrus (Cedars)
Cercidiphyllum japonicum (Katsura)
Cydonia (Quince/fruit)
Magnolia x loebneri Leonard Messel
Malus Golden Hornet
Malus huphensis
Picea (spruce)
Pinus (pines)
Prunus padus
Prunus Amanogawa
Prunus Shirotae
Stewartia sinensis (acid soils)
Tilia (Lime)

Scented Perennials

Clematis rehderiana
Hosta plantaginea


Buddleja (B alternifolia, D davidii, B globosa)
Cytissus x praecox
Cytissus battandieri
Daphne bholua
Daphne x burkwoodii
Daphne mezereum
Daphne odora aureomarginata
Daphne pontica
Daphne x transatlantica Eternal Summer
Eleagnus x ebbingei
Eleagnus pungens
Eucryphia (acid soils)
Fothergilla (acid soils)
Gaultheria procumbens
Lonicera Fragrantissima (winter)
Mahonia aquifolium (spring)
Mahonia japonica (winter)
Mahonia x media Charity
Osmanthus x burkwoodii
Ponciris trifolata
Rododendron luteum and Azalea Hybrids
Sambucus (Elder)
Sarcococca confuse
Sarcococca hokkeriana digyna
Sarcococca humilis
Sarcococca ruscifolia
Viburnum x bodnantense
Virbunum x burkwoodii
Viburnum x carlcepahlum
Viburnum x carlesii
Viburnum x farreri
Viburnum x juddii


Amaryllis belladonna
Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Lilium candidum, L regale, Hardy hybrids


Akebia quitata
Clematis armandii
Clematis cirrhosa balearica
Clematis flammula
Clematis Montana
Clematis rehderiana
Clematis triternata rubromarginata
Lonicera x Americana
Lonicera Halliana
Lonicera peryclymenum Serotina
Wisteria – Japanese Wisteria W. floribunda flowers after leaves unfurled while Chinese Wisteria W. sinensis, has a better scent.

Annuals and biennials

Ipomoea alba
Lathyrus odoratus
Matthiola bicormis (night-scented)
Matthiola incana
Reseda odorata (Mignonette)

Wall Shrubs

Ceanothus Puget Blue/Trewithen Blue
Cestrum parqui
Choisya ternata
Cytissus battandieri
Drimys winteri
Itea ilicifolia
Pittosporum tenuifolium


Gallicas – Charles de Mills, Duc de Guiche, President due Seze, Rosa gallica officnalis
Alba roses – Alba semi-plena, Queen of Denmark, Great Maiden’s Blush
Damask Roses – Celsiana, Ispahan, Madame Hardy
Portland – Comte de Chabord, Jacques Cartier
Centifolia roses – Fantin-latour, Petite de Hollande
Bourbon roses – Boule de Neige, Louise Odier, Madame Issac Pereire, Souvenir de la Malmaison
Hybrid Perpetual roses – Ferdinand Pichard, Reine des Violette souvenir du Dr Jamain
Hybrid Musks – Cornelia, Felicia, Franscesca, Moonlight, Penelope, Vanity
Rugosa roses – Blanc double de Coubert, Roseriae de l’Hay, Scabrosa
Scots Briar roses – Stanwell Perpetual
Hybrid Teas – Alec’s Red, Blue Moon, Fragrant Cloud, Paul Shirville
Climbing Roses – Constance Spry, Ena Harkness, Etoile de Hollande, Guinee, Lady Hillingdon, Madame Alfred Carriere, Madame Gregoire Staechelin.

See also David Austin Roses

Rambler roses – Alberic Barbier (apple), Alexandre Girault (apple), Bobbie James (fruity), Felicite et Perpeptue (cold cream), Francis E Lester (fruity), The Garland (orange)

English Roses (David Austin)

Gertrude Jekyll
Wollerton Old Hall
The Generous Gardener
Lady Emma Hamilton
Jude the Obscure
Munstead Wood
Golden Celebration
Harlow Carr
Wild Edric
Gentle Hermione
The Mayflower/Susan Williams Ellis
Spirit of Freedom
Summer Song


In our last scented-themed workshop we covered winter and spring, finishing with the very last of the Paperwhite Narcissus, Daphnes, an Osmanthus and some delicious Viburnums. The siren-call of a lonely winter shrub calling to the too-few pollinators has created some superb fragrant superstars for the garden in the early months of the year.

This chapter has taken us through the summer months and into autumn, with suggestions for fragrant climbers and shrubs, herbs, perennials and annuals – amazing fragrant stalwarts of the summer garden. Creating fragrant bowers, enhancing seating areas for a mid-morning coffee or evening meals – roses in pots, borders, pergolas and obelisks, (roses pretty much everywhere if you’d like) and we’ll throw in Coca Cola scented Pelargoniums, After Eight fragrant mints and chocolate Cosmos for good measure.

The phrase ‘Stop and Smell the Roses’ is an age old saying and is more than just a clarion call to take a snifter at any passing rose. In Jennifer Peach Rhind’s book ‘Fragrance and Wellbeing’ – an excellent read also – she concludes with these final thoughts.

‘The exploration of the world of plant aromatics, and indeed perfumery, can open up a new internal landscape – there are just so many scents to discover and experience. Fragrance belongs to a vibrant invisible dimension that will impact on how we feel, think and behave. It can be a messenger and a guide. A sixteenth century Zen pries suggested that ‘incense’ holds ten virtues. These virtues could also be attributed to fragrance and these are presented below

It brings communication with the transcendent
It purifies the mind and body
It removes uncleanliness
It keeps one alert
It can be a companion in the midst of solitude
In the midst of busy affairs, it brings peace
When it is plentiful, one never tires of it
When there is little, still one is satisfied
Age does not change its efficacy
Used every day, it does no harm

Fragrance helps us be ‘in the moment’ … So even if we take only small steps to cultivate our appreciation of fragrance, our lives will surely be enriched.








16 thoughts on “A Riot of Roses at David Austin HQ – An Access All Areas Tour of the Gardens, Glasshouses, Breeding Program, Trial Fields … and musings on Fragrance in the summer and autumn garden –

  1. Thank you for maintaining your lovely blog and posting such gorgeous photos – very, very inspiring! Would you happen to know the name of the beautiful yellow and apricot full rose climbing what looks like an arch – about mid-way down the page, coming after a photo of lovely pink roses (with statues) and one of Jude the Obscure? I love it! Many thanks, and please keep the photos coming!

    1. That’ll be Crown Princess Margareta – there’s a lovely play of stronger peach, apricot and creams, cafe au lait and cream – not hugely perfumed but flowers in torrents and a healthy girl too! One of the English Climbers but can be kept as a large shrub.

      Best wishes, Martin

  2. Awesome! Could you share more of your learnings on how to care for roses in containers. I just started growing roses in containers last year. Any details/ideas you could provide would be great! Thanks for sharing your journeys with us! All the best, Cole.

    1. There are some superbly grown roses in pots on show there. The key is to have big pots – at least 40 litres of a soil based compost like John Inness No. 3; something as big as a half barrel and deeper is better than wide. They are thirsty things and might take 4-5 litres of water each day – more in hotter weather/climate – so an irrigation system might be worth investing in – they are not as expensive as they once were. A regular feed from leaf-break in March/April, each month through to the end of August – liquid seaweed, tomato food, rose food (again in liquid form) – and a top dress with fresh compost each spring. They’ll be super stars for up to 10 years but probably not for much longer, unless the pot is much larger. Watch the drainage in winter. Have fun with them – I’m going to be planting more in pots (I already have several standards in big containers at home but more shrubs on the terrace would be a fine thing).

      Best wishes, Martin

      1. Thanks so much – really appreciate the information and always enjoy your blog! All the best, Cole.

  3. I was there yesterday on the tour. A fantastic day and great team. Very insightful day and thoroughly enjoyed. Your pictures are of course, much better than my snaps! Thanks for sharing them on your blog for us all to see.

    1. It was a good day and though I’ve been many times – and on this tour last year – there is always something fresh to absorb. It’s excellent they invest the time of all their senior staff over the four days, especially since Hampton Court is just around the corner. Where are you based?

  4. In Hampshire so it was bit of a trek but I used to work in the Midlands. I recently joined Hillier HQ and am bit of a horticulture learner which is why I like to follow your blog. If you’re ever in our direction let me know – would be happy to show you around.

    1. Thanky you- I get down to the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens every couple of months, and Mottisfont of course for the roses – and Hardys Cottage Plants and … so thanks for the offer – would love to have a look around –

      Best wishes Martin

  5. Your blog has been my best find of 2016! I am constantly looking in to see if you have done any new posts! Please keep up the good work:)

  6. I visited this magnificent spread of roses in June, 1995. To say even then is was a Joy to walk through. I had p lanned on bringing out a garden tour from Vancouver, BC, the following summer…this spectacle included. Being a Rosarian myself, we were given a VIP tour walkabout, and a scrumptious lunch, afterwards with some of the Royalty there, …Mr. Austin, Sr. was away in East Anglia on business. Many tours later, on my own,… have visited some the venues, Munstead Wood, Woollerton Hall, etc..ever since, and do grow them in my Garden…magnificent plants!! ..another one comes to mind, Malvern Hills, as I am prone to climbers.

  7. Thank you so much for posting these beautiful pictures. Your blog is like a breath of fresh air that I look forward to each week.

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