Smaller David Austins

ratdogheads(5b NH)December 31, 2013

Ok folks, it's winter in New England and I've got all the time in the world to scheme, research, categorize, and endlessly redesign my 2014 garden. My latest strategy is that the smaller the roses, the more I can buy. So here goes with the list of allegedly compact DAs that I've collected from DA's current US website (criteria I'm fairly certain that someone at DA enjoys his/her winter by throwing darts at a board to come up with these published sizes, and HMF size ranges are often inscrutable because one never knows if the data represents size in Anchorage or Miami.

Seriously though, there is not a lot of talk about many of these varieties so please let's hear your experiences. In addition to size in your climate, what do you like to dislike and why?

I'm not concerned with isolating the topic for just my climate, but I would like to focus on David Austins for this thread (rest assured I have more lists going for compact OGRs, ect., etc.). Please add to the list if you know of any not named here, particularly older discontinued varieties.


Ambridge Rose 3 x 2
Anne Boleyn 3 x 3
Bishop's Castle 3 x 2.5
Boscobel 3 x 2.5
Christopher Marlowe 2.5 x 3
Darcey Bussell 3 x 2
Heathcliffe 3.5 x 3
John Clare 3 x 2.5
Mary Magdalene 3 x 3
Miss Alice 3 x 2
Molineux 3 x 2
Munstead Wood 3 x 2.5
Noble Anthony 3 x 2.5
Princess Alexandra of Kent 3.5 x 3
Princess Anne 3 x 2
Scarborough Fair 2.5 x 2
Sir John Betjeman 3.5 x 2.5
Sophy's Rose 3 x 2.5
The Countryman 3 x 3
The Shepherdess 3 x 2
Wildeve 3.5 x 3.5
Windermere 3.5 x 3.5

sizes are height x width in feet

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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

Not much to add, but

Princess Alexandra of Kent
Jubilee Celebration
Darcey Bussell

All stay fairly small

Bishops Castle is throwing long canes

I am in SoCal

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 11:05AM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)


This post was edited by Kippy-the-Hippy on Tue, Dec 31, 13 at 11:11

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 11:10AM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

I want to say that Bishop's Castle's propensity to throw long canes can be controlled (at least in my plant) by fairly severe pruning in January and then cutting down low when I deadhead or cut flowers for the house. That's worked well for several years now.

Pretty Jessica seems to stay small everywhere, has pretty and fragrant flowers and no disease for me, although it's a young plant and the final verdict is out as to how quickly it reblooms.

Potter and Moore is a discontinued rose that I have own-root from Rogue Valley Roses that has stayed small and has a graceful growth habit. I love the cupped, many-petaled pink blooms that look very old-rose.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 12:41PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Anne Boleyn is a lovely delicate pink blend, about 3x3 in my Zone 6 garden. She was a very slow starter in my garden--just sat there for a couple years doing nothing, then I moved her to another spot (mostly to get rid of her next to the back steps), and she just sat there another year doing nothing. For the past couple years she has started growing in a healthy positive way and blooming, but never have I had the abundance of blooms the DA site promises. But as I said, the blooms are small and lovely. (I have no idea how typical my Anne is. Better get some input from others also.)

Boscobel--know nothing about it except I love it and want it and don't know where I can plant it--no space!

John Clare--about 3 ft tall, pretty blooms but they didn't last long. I spaded it after a couple years due to its lack of floriferousness.

Molineux--one of my favorites, changing shades of yellow/gold/apricot--occasionally almost peachy in the center. Mine are about 5-6 years old and just a bit larger than listed in the DA catalog--more like 3.5x2.75. Very floriferous.

Munstead Wood--anyone who doesn't know I'm nuts about this rose had not been on this forum for the past 6 months! Gorgeous dark red/purple blooms. Mine is only one season old so I can't say a lot about it yet (except that to see it is to love it)--quite short so far. Seems to be good on repeat.

Looking at Kippy's list, I also grow Jubilee Celebration--another one that spent several years doing almost nothing, now in its 5-6th years, blooms nicely, but still is not vigorous at all. Fascinating blend of salmon pink with a touch of yellow at the base. Due to its lack of vigor, I doubt if it will ever reach the height listed by DA. Mine is maybe 3x3. Again, I don't know how typical it is of other JCs.

Also consider Pretty Jessica--most fully packed med pink (with just a hint of blue?) flowers you'll ever see, I do believe. Mine is about 5-6 years old and about 3.5 x 2.75. You probably won't find her on the DA site (long story about copyrights)--google to see where else this DA cutie is sold.

Hope that helps.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 12:52PM
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prickles(Los Angeles, CA)

Bishops castle gets big here in southern California, just as Kippy says. (It's more difficult to write using a phone than I realize...) But saint Cecelia stays reasonably compact for me: 2x2', still a young plant, poor disease resistance for a no spray garden, but she is a very quick rebloomer, and still blooming in December with a handful of buds.

Pretty Jessica sure is pretty...but don't have space for a new rose presently...unless I sp stephens big purple to make room for her.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 1:51PM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

Two Austins that should stay small and compact for you, as they do here for me, where all others grow huge, are: The Prince and Tamora. For several years, I grew multiple Miss Alice roses, and I don't recommend that rose. Miss Alice stays small, but had gnarly, twiggy canes and poor rebloom. PAK is going to be much larger here than Austin's estimate. Munstead Wood, so far, is short and rounded, very nice growth habit, but is still too young to estimate a definite size at maturity.
All my other Austins are very large, though Young Lycidas may not end up quite as large as the others (I hope so, or he'll have to be moved again). Diane

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 3:02PM
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ratdogheads(5b NH)

I'm excited to hear that St Cecilia stays small. DA puts her at 4 ft I think, but she's high on my 2014 wish list because others have raved about her fragrance.

Pretty Jessica has caught my attention too. You're right, not sold by DA but guess what - Pickering sells her!!

Here are some other shorties that I missed on my first list.

Fair Bianca 3.5 x 2.5
Portmerion 3 x 3
Pretty Jessica 2.5 x 2.5
Prospero 3 x 2
Sister Elizabeth 2.5 x 2.5
Skylark 3 x 2
Tamora 3 x 3
The Prince 2.5 x 2

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 5:08PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I second Tamora staying small. I've had mine for years and it's still about 2 x 2. The Prince is a bit taller, but not wide.
Bishop's Castle is getting wide, maybe 4 x 4, but it's not like other Austins that throw out huge canes. Jubilee Celebration also has stayed small for me.

Two others I have that are small are WS 2000 and Perdita. Both are about 2.5 x 2.5.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 5:25PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I don't think WS 2000 will stay that small for most gardeners. Mine is 5-6 years old and about 3.5-4 ft tall and 5-6 ft wide, but I remember posters saying on earlier posts that their WS 2000 was even larger than mine.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:12PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I've had mine for a few years and it just does not grow. I'm moving a lot of things around this year, so maybe in a new spot will help.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:21PM
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FWIW: Ann Boleyn's rather small flower's shatter very quickly.

My experience of John Clare is very different to that mentioned by dublinbay earlier. In my garden, it is truly outstanding and is without question the most prolific Austin I have ever grown and it beats Iceberg hands down. Its weaknesses would be only a slight fragrance and the individual flowers last only 2-3 days, but when it is in full bloom (which is very regularly) it is an absolute pleasure to see.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 5:02AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I'm glad to hear your John Clare did better than mine. I really expected more from it. Perhaps mine needed more sun to bloom better--but I had no place open to move it to.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 9:42AM
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curdle(9b, Australia)

All of my Austins are quite new, but for what its worth...

Wife of Bath is another older smaller Austin. Mid pink- darker than Sharifa Asma, a bit lighter than pretty Jessica. Mine is only first year from a bareroot, but so far its produced more blooms than Sharifa Asma (also another little one, purchased at the same time).

Mary Magdalene stays little and twiggy; the blooms are a lovely glowing light apricot in spring, but bleach out white in the heat of summer here- it does keep on flowering tho..

I don't grow Christopher Marlowe, but I have seen a few at a public rose garden here- it appears more like a carpet rose, growing not so much up, as along the ground- colouring changes from dark salmony pink to light apricot as it ages.
Charles Rennie Mckintosh - another oldie- again, mine is a first year, looks like it wanted to mildew, but didn't; lovely big lilacy nodding blooms.

Charlotte is another one that's supposed to stay small- blooms a lovely shade of buttercup yellow, but for some reason it didn't really grab me...that and its presently almost entirely defoliated with blackspot..grr

I also second, or is that third ? Pretty Jessica. Prospero seems to do well for me too-nice dark plummy colour, and quite floriferous (i've been wanting to use that word for quite awhile now, hehe) Mine ( I have two) do throw up weird scarlet orange blooms just this time of year(start of summer)

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 8:51AM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

What about Symphony?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 12:39AM
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gardener-in-wi(5 SEWi)

St. Cecelia is in it's first year in my garden. Got it from DA bareroot. It grew to about 3 x 2. Lovely growth habit and no disease. It also bloomed continuously.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 11:03PM
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Just through I'd chime in on Christopher Marlowe, I've only had mine a couple years and it is in a container, and it has stayed small and leggy, it is rather short and I'd say mine is about 1'x2', and the blooms are quite small, too (most are between 1-2" and are button shaped).

Since it's remained the size of a miniature rose for me and is sprawling, so I'm going to see what happens when I put it in a hanging basket.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 7:23PM
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About Munstead Wood: What does the foliage look like? Are the leaves small or large? Are they closely-spaced or widely-spaced? Are the leaves matt or glossy? Do the leaves come right up to the flower?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2014 at 6:21PM
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mustbnuts zone 9 sunset 9

For me in central CA where it gets hot, Ambridge Rose gets to be about 3-4 feet tall and about 3 feet wide.

Munstead Wood is only one year old and it is throwing out long canes. I am having to tie it back to keep it from attacking people when they walk up my walk way.

Princess Alex of Kent is throwing out even longer canes. I really have had to tie her back so people don't get attacked when coming over to my house.

Pretty Jessica makes about a 4 foot tall plant and about 2 feet wide. She is on her first year, so she might get bigger.

Mary Web is pretty compact for an Austin. She gets about 3-4 feet tall and about 3 feet wide.

The tiniest DA rose I have would be Emily. She is about 18 inches tall by about a foot wide.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2014 at 12:21AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Talk about regional differences--my smaller Austins have no trouble at all with "long arms," and they all stay around 3 ft tall or maybe a shade taller. But then no one ever confused Kansas with Florida, did they!

About Munstead Wood, it is chilly and rainy out right now, so I'm not going out to check on it. My memory is that MW is quite leafy. I don't remember the leaves being small or large, so I guess they are "average." Same with spacing--but since my memory is that it is rather leafy, perhaps the foliage is a bit more closely-spaced. I think I remember the leaves as being a bit glossy. Sorry I can't be more specific--normally I look at the foliage mostly to determine whether it is healthy or blackspotted.

If the weather improves and I find my memory was defective, I'll post some corrections here. : )


    Bookmark   October 13, 2014 at 9:11AM
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