Enabling 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles'
I haven't seen much discussion of this rose. I like mine a lot. What do others think?
Currently we have a number of good red climbers available, but Tess is the only one I've grown lately. Anybody want to add a side-by-side comparison?
The flowers of Tess are outstanding. They are bright cherry red or medium crimson; the color is always slightly to the blue side of true or flag red, and it doesn't change much with age. Flowers are large, well formed, and moderately fragrant to me. They are long lasting on the plant or cut--unusually so for an Austin rose. The flower quality holds up in hot weather and sun.
The plant is inclined to be more climber than shrub, but could be either. I am pruning mine to stand up but allowing a few canes to ramble on a wall behind. It repeats regularly, not in great numbers, but enough to look like a flush. Laterals on the shrubby part are longer than I would prefer, but not wild and whippy like those on the neighboring 'Radio Times.'
This year I didn't spray for the first 9 weeks of the growing season, and a number of roses defoliated, including I think all my other Austin roses except 'Prospero.' Tess only had only a very few blackspotted leaves and no mildew.