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David Austin’s new literary roses for 2020

Rose Silas Marner. Picture; David Austin Roses
Rose Silas Marner. Picture; David Austin Roses

Two new floral characters announced – one pink, one yellow

David Austin Roses has revealed its two new literary-inspired British grown repeat-flowering English Roses.

Silas Marner is named after George Eliot’s unassuming, reclusive yet kindhearted hero of the classic novel, Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe (1861).

It is an unfussy rose of soft mid-pink, bearing petals which are pale on the reverse and fade at the edges. Held on red stems, the medium-sized cupped blooms have relaxed, almost ruffled petals set around an attractive button eye.

Old Rose fragrance

Flanked by glossy, dark green foliage, the rose has a medium-strong Old Rose fragrance, with accents of fruity lemon, green banana and apricot.

A very healthy variety, Silas Marner forms a medium-sized shrub of arching growth. Shade tolerant, its fresh pink blooms will sing out in shadier spots, or why not combine with grey-toned foliage in a bed or border?

Paying tribute to James Woodforde’s The Diary of a Country Parson (1758-1802), The Country Parson (Ausclergy) is a pretty yet feisty rose of Scottish descent, bearing fully open, medium-large, almost flat rosettes of pure yellow.

Medium-strong fragrance

Appearing gracefully translucent towards the outer edges of each bloom, the petals create a ‘halo’ effect. Featuring greyish-green leaves and a covering of modest spiny thorns, this tough little rose is softened by a medium-strong fragrance, a fruity blend of sweet apricot, green apple and honey.

A robust and healthy variety, it forms a rounded small to medium-sized shrub, giving continuous, plentiful blooms from June through to the first frosts.

The Country Parson can be planted in a pot on patios which may only get a few hours of sun. Alternatively, plant en-masse as a hedge or as a group of three in a border.

Literary-inspired roses

The new arrivals join the 20 other twenty literature-inspired roses, such as The Mill on the Floss, Eustacia Vye, Lady of Shalott, Emily Bronté and The Pilgrim.

Richard Austin, head of marketing, said: “We very much look forward to showing the new varieties in bloom for the first time at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May.”

Roses Silas Marner and The Country Parson will be available from the end of February along with the new 2020 Handbook of Roses. For more information, visit www.davidaustinroses.co.uk.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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