I have only one Austin (Heritage) and after looking at the extensive list and wondering which you have been most successful with in the midwest.
I've had incredible luck with the Zepherine Drouhin. Vining, very sweetly scented, prolific bloomer - even in partial shade, repeat bloomer though not for the entire summer I don't think. Oh, and as a bonus, it's nearly thornless.
Golden Celebration is a good ever-blooming Austin rose. It has a nice fragrance, large nodding roses that are in clusters. Very pretty yellow! I grow mine on a trellis. It is not nearly as gigantic as John Cabot but it is as easy-to-grow John Cabot (one of the Canadian Explorer roses). I live in zone 5 so you might have more winter kill than we do but if you plant it a little deeper and/or give it some winter protection, you will be fine.
Thanks friends. There are so many, where does one start. Now I know!!
I have not had especially good luck with Austins in my garden (central Ohio). This past winter in particular there was severe winter die-back on a number of plants (protected and unprotected), while my antique roses came through just fine.
Incidentally, Zephirine Drouhin is not an Austin rose - it's an antique variety introduced in 1868.
I love Austins and can't believe I spent several decades growing hybrid teas before the Austins came around. (Though I still adore my Mr. Lincolns!). My favorite Austins, in this order, are:
I dislike Winchester Cathedral (measly white blooms), I think Heritage is lovely but waaaaay too shortlived.
I think Austins are wonderful!
If ever there was a once bloomer superior to repeat bloomers, it's Constance Spry. It's a traffic stopper. And it's winter hardy in the Midwest.
I am a big fan of Mary Rose, this is a very easy and not very tempermental Austin to grow. Not much of a scent though. You will like it.
I have always had good luck with Heritage, although this year a woodchuck has been munching on mine...
My healthiest, most floriferous Austin is Heritage, but gaining a close second this season is LD Braithwaite, who is a full season younger. Keep in mind, I DO spray, many of the folks that "diss" Austins for being spotty, don't.
Have also grown English Garden
Will be getting:
Benjamin Britten and probably more for next year
I love 'em--planted them deep initially and haven't ever had much winterkill
My favorite Austin rose is Teasing Georgia. It survived last winter here in south central Iowa. I had protected it with soil in a wire frame. We did plant another Austin rose this spring called Geoff Hamilton but don't know how well it will survive the winter. The flowers are beautiful on both plants.
We have Golden Celebration, Gertrude Jekyll and The Prince, though I"m not 100% certain that last one is an Austin.
Golden Celebration is leggy this year, with fewer blooms than last year, which I'm putting down to the wet spring we've had.
Gertrude Jekyll is a gorgeous bloom -- but I wouldn't get it again if I had the choice. Gertrude peters out in the heat and barely blooms at all after the first flush. She sends up very long canes, but no buds. I just pegged my GJ to see if I'll get any more blooms that way.
The Prince is a nice bush, but IMO, the bloom is a nasty color. I wouldn't have it again, unless the only feature I cared about was fragrance. It smells wonderful.
CHARLES DARWIN -- I had one for three weeks this spring. It was a BLACKSPOT MAGNET -- the worst I've ever seen, when no other roses in the bed had a touch of the disease. In one 8-hour period, the entier bush went from green to black-and-yellow. The nursery refunded my money ($35!!) because so many of their Austin roses had come down with terrible blackspot, too. They told me they won't use that grower ever again.
I replaced Charles Darwin with one Knockout and one Bill Warriner -- not Austins. I think I'm through with Austins. I think they're overrated.
I think Austins are majorly overrated for the midwest. I would look at the Buck roses.
PS, I have given up on all roses due to rose rosette disease.
I grow several Austins with no trouble, a few are leggy but most do really well. The best for me by far has been Abraham Darby. Besides that, I have:
A Shropshire Lad
Winchester Cathedral (mine starts out with a hint of blush)
I do spray for blackspot every 2 weeks and also use homemade insecticidal soap 1x a week for earwig control. I use a pellet-based rose fertilizer 1x a month. So far, even with all this rain, not a spot to be seen on any leaf anywhere.
I just excised Gertrude Jekyll (spindly habit, cane dieback) in favor of an antique (Rose de Recht).
There's something about spraying every 2 weeks for blackspot and weekly for bugs that sounds less than low-maintenance to me.
Hmmmm - I have several. My favorite is a pink called Eglantyne - anybody heard of that one? It is just big and robust and full of clear pink flowers, lovely. I love Abraham Darby for the apricot cast in the blooms. I also have The Prince, but it stays small and is just not special in my garden. Also have Mary Rose and it has stayed small - too shady a location, but my neighbor has great luck with it. And I have a white - name escapes me without my notes handy - also nothing special.
I have had great luck with the Canadian roses for climbers especially - William Baffin and John Cabot are both lovely and I have the Morden's - Centennial and a red-orange one - I think it's Firespray. All well worth growing.
Is Golden Celebration an Austin?
Here's Eglantyne - it really is a beauty...
Here is a link that might be useful: Eglantyne
It's no trouble, at least for me, to pamper my roses. Spraying for BS every 2 weeks takes about 30 minutes a month and for bugs once a week takes 60 minutes a month. I spend more than 1.5 hours a month pulling weeds. Heck, I spend well over that pulling maple tree helicopter seedlings every spring alone!
Very few roses are maintenance-free if you want prolific blooms and a healthy plant. I would gladly spend 7.5 hours a YEAR on keeping them prolific and healthy. That's not work to me, that is taking care of my babies. :)
For the record: I have had good luck with my Austins and terrible luck with the Buck roses (exception carefree beauty). Floppy (as in flowers hang straight down - I can hand nodding but straight down?) and not very fast growing and blackspot magnets.
I've been growing the SAME 'Mary Rose' and 'Cottage rose' for nearly 15 years, despite having dug them up twice and moved from zone five to zone four. Needless to say, these are wonderful roses, in my book. My Constance Spry was so big I had to leave her behind when I moved last year...my two Graham Thomases took the move in stride, and bloomed the first year re-located.
I've had slightly less luck with Pilgrim (lasted about ten years) and Kathleen Morely (beautiful but never lush) and currently am in my second or third years with Heritage, English Garden, Abraham Darby, Sharif Asama, and about three others I can't remember off-hand. :-)
The only failure, so far, has been Swan--weak plant and it died the first year.