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Suggest alternatives to Austins please!

Posted by wren-garden zone 5b/6 (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 17, 11 at 17:07

I never thought I'd do it, but a shovel pruned 2 Austins and if the 3 remaining don't do better next season, out they go. I so wanted the perfume they offer and the repeat bloom. I have a Buff Beauty, Marie Pavie and Jasminia that are spotless bloom machines. They are well leafed out and vigorous. So I believe it is not the beds they are in but the rose. Please suggest a shrub rose that has perfume, repeat bloom, English style flower for zone 5. I would need a light yellow, a light to medium pink and a bright pink. They go in a cottage garden bed with lots of companion plants so they can't be more then 4' wide. Oh yes, do you prune your Austins hard some years to get them going? I though of trying that with the leggy remaining 3.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Suggest alternatives to Austins please!

I'm curious--which 2 Austins did you spade and why? Did you have trouble with blackspot, and were the deleted Austins known for their disease-resistance? Or what?
And in what general area of Zone 5-6 are you located--east coast, midwest, pacific northwest, etc.? Geography can often make a big difference in what rose (Austin or not) will thrive where.

We can give much better advice if you can provide some more specific information.



RE: Suggest alternatives to Austins please!

I have a friend in MA who has great success with Buck roses. Also, the Romantica roses--the French version of Austins-- might do better for you. But the Austins are not "continuous" bloom to begin with, merely repeat bloomers. Buff Beauty is an HM and Marie Pavie is a polyantha--very different kinds of roses and known for continuous blooms.

RE: Suggest alternatives to Austins please!

Dublinbay.....I am in Niagara Falls NY. Western NY between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario on the Niagara River. The two I gave up on were Molineux and Belle Story. They were scraggly and black spot prone. This is not to say it is not some how my fault. I have a no spray garden.As I asked in the post,is it good to hard prune them down some seasons to get the Austins going full again?
Catrose.....I don't need continuous bloom, just some repeat.
I know the other roses doing well in my garden are not the same class as the Austins. I just mentioned them to give an idea what has done well for me.I also have Mme. Plantier, Long John Silver, The Prince's Trust, Peggy Martin, Red Cascade, and Pinkie,just to mention a few more doing well.
I will check out the Romantica and Buck roses, thanks.

RE: Suggest alternatives to Austins please!

Your requirements of fragrance, spot resistance, repeat bloom, and very double form won't turn up many hits. For a light pink, try Austin's Heritage or Buck's Quietness. Heritage has better fragrance, Quietness has longer-lasting flowers and probably better resistance.

RE: Suggest alternatives to Austins please!

I prefer to hard prune my Austins in the spring time only, as the roses are at their most vigorous in the spring, and so I think the hard pruning might yield more blooming at that time.

The Austins can take years to build up a structure and give their best blooming. One might need to wait a while to see them at their best.

I do see blackspot on the Austins in summer, but this does not cause diminished vigor or winter hardiness in my garden setting.

I recently added Yves Piaget to the garden, and Liv Tyler. They have great fragrance, show signs of good repeat bloom. They might repeat more quickly than some of the Austins.

Forgot to mention...

I forgot to mention that some of the Austins I don't hard prune at all, it depends on the height of the rose, winter dieback etc. Some of them get light pruning only.

RE: Suggest alternatives to Austins please!

I really think you need to first of all consider the growing conditions for your roses and whether those conditions are optimal, and secondly, whether the roses you have been selecting are highly disease-resistant or not.

I don't know Belle Storey, but Molineux will sometimes have some minor BS problems--though generally I find it quite resistant to disease. Were those roses planted in 6 or more hours of direct sunshine a day? If they got less than that, the lack of sufficient sun will bring about BS problems.

If you have a cottage garden, did you leave open space around those roses? If not, that is another reason why the roses might be having BS problems.

Were they in your garden for at least 3 years? If not, that is another reason why those roses may have been having problems. Austins and many other roses often take at least several years to settle in and get a really good root system going. Until that happens, they can be less vigorous and more susceptible to various problems.

Ask yourself the same questions about the 3 remaining Austins you have. And are they disease-resistant Austins? If you have not selected Austin's roses advertised as disease-resistant (actually, he tends to label them in reverse, as "healthy" and "very healthy" -- even "exceptionally healthy"), that is your first problem that needs to be addressed.

I really think that what you are really looking for is disease-resistant roses for a no-spray garden. You should list that up front as the most important criteria. If you use the search box to look up "disease-resistant," you will find all sorts of recommendations on this forum.

In my garden, these are some of my disease-resistant roses. Austins: Mayflower (pink, fragrant, highly disease-resistant); Queen of Sweden (light apricot peachy pink, disease-resistant--don't remember fragrance); Jubilee Celebration (salmon pink with touch of yellow at base, disease-resistant--don't remember fragrance); Mortimer Sackler (light to medium pink, disease-resistant--don't remember fragrance). Other disease-resistant Austins I remember off the top of my head from their catalog are Lady of Shalott, Princess Alexandria of Kent, Susan Williams-Ellis, The Pilgrim. There are others also. I remember these because I was closely considering them.

For disease resistance, there are also the rugosas. I've grown Blanc Double de Coubert (did I spell that right?) and Fru Dagmar Halstrup--both very nice.

I can't make a final judgment yet, but my new Bourbon Mystic Beauty (from Roses Unlimited) and its twin or maybe identical rose Souvenir de la Malmaison is wonderful and has (so far) had no disease problems.

If you want to go more modern, here are some disease resistant ones I grow: Elina, Eutin, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Well Being, Earth Song.

Then there are also the Knock Out type roses, plus a relative named Home Run. They are all highly disease-resistant, and while I have a couple of them, can't say that I highly recommend them due to lack of bloom beauty.

I hope some of that is helpful. Good luck in your search--but remember that there is no such thing as a disease-free rose--just some roses that are more resistant than others to disease.


RE: Suggest alternatives to Austins please!

Thanks Kate for all the great info. I will look up all the named roses and do a search for disease resistant roses. The 2 shovel pruned roses were 5 years old. The remaining 5 year old is Jude the Obscure, and 3 year old Sharifa Asma and Scepter'd Isle. I will hard prune them in the spring and baby them. All the companion plants around the roses are low. Short hostas, lambs ears kept pruned of the flower spikes,short daylilies to name a few. But I will take a look at the companions now since I am in the middle of a big redo of most of the beds. The garden is now 8 years old and there has been a lot of dividing and redesigning . Been at it for almost 3 weeks. 12 beds. Shared many with friends and newbies to enable. I added roses this year too. Lyda Rose, Summer Wine Cl, The Lady in The Mist, and Ebb Tide. I was full up at 22 but now I will hunt for 2-3 new.

RE: Suggest alternatives to Austins please!

  • Posted by seil z6 MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 19, 11 at 12:41

I agree with Catsrose. The Griffith Buck shrub roses will have good vigor and hardiness for you and many of them have that fuller bloom form. There are also many that are very fragrant. Disease resistant is very much linked to location so I cannot say how resistant they will be for you but for the most part they are the more resistant ones in my garden. Not that they never spot but that they are the last to do so and don't defoliate and continue to bloom and grow through it. Of the 5 I have I'd have to say Quietness is my favorite. Always beautiful blooms and rarely spots. Next would be Winter Sunset for it's lovely apricot color. Both Rural Rhythm and Country Music are smaller bushes than those two and are slower to repeat and less healthy. However, they are both more fragrant. Last is Iobelle which is an HT not a shrub and is the least disease resistant but the blooms are awesome! But there are many, many more Buck beauties to choose from.

RE: Suggest alternatives to Austins please!

I would also recommend the Buck roses. When my father was planning a rose garden in zone 5b Pennsylvania, those were the ones I suggested he look at. He bought several. He did not live to see the result, unfortunately, but my sister tells me that they are doing very well. I happen to know that they are not getting any care beyond a bit of weeding. No doubt you'll do more, and have more reward.


RE: Suggest alternatives to Austins please!

I really love the Austins in my zone 5 garden - some of them however, take a good 3 years to reach maturity, and for me, grafted do much better than own-root. The non-Austins I grow that have that wonderful English rose heavy-petaled look include the Buck rose Quietness (I agree with Seil - it is a truly wonderful pink rose), the Buck rose 'Prairie Sunrise' (a lovely apricot), the Kordes rose 'Summer Memories' (a beautiful white). While all three have the true English rose 'look', none of them have the fragrance for which many Austins are famous.

RE: Suggest alternatives to Austins please!

These roses have thrived in my no-spray garden where p.m is a greater problem than b.s.:
Frau Karl Druski
Boule de Neige' from pickeringnurseries buds stained with red open to lovely white snowball shaped roses.
Sydonie (from hortico)
Aloha' is a rose that Austin bred many of his roses from, it is a fragrant low-climber c. 5 ' tall in your zone, it has a delicious fragrance. pickeringnurseries sells it.
Iceberg' is another rose that Austin used, he bred his white roses from it. Both are very healthy where I live.


RE: Suggest alternatives to Austins please!

Do the Portland damasks do well for you? I noticed that Jacques Cartier is rated to zone 4; mine is only 2 yo, but has bloomed well all summer, and I like the fragrance. Indigo is by default 6b but I noticed that it grows in a Michigan garden (AnneCecilia). Rose de Rescht, too, is rated 4b.

I have all three of these and although they are young, I am liking them quite a bit. All fragrant, all bloom quite a bit. They are roses I'm excited to see how they do when they are mature.

Just a thought. Other than noting the zone hardiness, I am not sure how they'd do up north, but I think worth checking into if you don't already have them.

I am a Buck roses fan also - I grew Quietness and Winter Sunset in a southern garden, and really like both of these roses. Prairie Harvest is a really pretty yellow that blooms a lot. Not much fragrance for me, either, but I think they made up for it by the number of blooms.


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