A new source of vintage David Austin Roses

September 9, 2018

There have been a number of discussions on these rose forums about the frustration that some are feeling that so many of the earlier releases of David Austin roses are no longer available. As someone who has been growing these roses over 3 decades and at 3 different homes, I am disappointed that many of these earlier roses have been declared 'superceded' by his newer releases; and its a struggle to find some varieties that I grew 2 houses ago. Not all of his early releases were winners, but there is a good number of them that are either rare or out of commerce and had unique charm in flower form, fragrance and/or plant type.

Working in coordination with another Austin enthusiast (Summermorning), we have identified a company who has agreed to help preserve these varieties. Summermorning lives in upstate NY, close to the Canadian border. She crosses the border to pick up roses at Palatine Roses site at Niagra-on-the-Lake, Ontario and knows the owner, Rene Schmitz. She phoned him and asked him if he would be interested in propagating some of these early Austin varieties. He said he was interested and I emailed him my list of 112 DAR's that I am now growing. He looked at the list and identified the ones that he would like to have for this project. I was surprised that he selected 62!

It took my wife and I 5 hours to harvest and label the 2 'budding sticks' that he wanted. In accordance with his instructions, we had the cuttings inspected and received the Phytosanitary Certificate that he needed for the shipment. He specified that he wanted it to be sent overnight, so we had to send the package to Summermorning in NY, because the USPS could not guarantee overnight delivery to a Canadian address. When the parcel arrived, Summermorning shuttled it to Rene on the US side of the border and Rene crossed the border with all the necessary documents.

Rene had scheduled for a professional 'budder' to fly over from the UK to work a 10 day stint to do all the budding for Palatine Roses production for the current year. As it turned out, the budder arrived the day after the parcel arrived and Rene had him do this Austin project before the main project. The budder was pleased with the quality of the budwood and was able to graft 10 to 17 scions onto Rosa multiflora rootstock plantsts for each of the 62 entries. Rene said that the grafting went well and he is already seeing a bit of callus development on the grafted plants. He said that he does not know how many of these plants will survive the winter. He says that he is reserving the first 3 plants of each variety, to plant in a 'germplasm preservation' garden. Unlike grafted plants in California that spend 2 full summers in the field before harvest and sale, the Canadian grafted plants are harvested after a single summer. And so there may be at least of few plants of many of these roses for sale in the fall of 2019/spring 2020. Hopefully, this effort will preserve these worthy roses for at least a few more years.

Comments (83)

  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley

    This is WONDERFUL! Vesfl, I thought the same think when I saw Potter and Moore. Ingrid IS the ambassador for this rose. :))Now we just need to buy them when they're available. Ikatewv5, perhaps if you have any the roses you mentioned, you might offer them for propagation. I believe, they offered many more roses than were accepted, so perhaps the others are hard to propagate or something. Anyway, I'm personally thrilled with this list as I'm still kicking myself for not getting a few when they were available.

    john_ca thanked Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley
  • soncna 9a Slovenia

    What an inspirational project. In Europe some older varities can be found. I do not agree with statement, that newer Austin varieties are more healthy. For me this is not true, many are BS magnets (Boscobel, Tranquility). But many onJ ohn`s list are amazing varieties: Crown princess Margaret, English garden (one of my favourites), Moulinex. There is no Heritage on the list, yes blooms last only for a day; but for me it is a superb rose. Completely healthy, vigorous and with long blooming season. Only old dark red roses do not well for me (Prospero, Tradescan). Here Munstead wood is superb.

    john_ca thanked soncna 9a Slovenia
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  • john_ca

    I am overwhelmed with the groundswell of support of this project by so may people both in the US and abroad! Now we need to follow through and order these roses from Rene at Palatine Roses beginning in September 2019, to support this project and ensure that these worthy roses will continued to be planted in gardens and be available to purchase by rosarians in the future.

  • verdantcroft

    Have wanted The Prince for some time so am really excited it's on the list. Disappointed Belle Story isn't there, though; maybe they'll add it later.

    john_ca thanked verdantcroft
  • john_ca

    There are so many people who have wanted some of these lost treasures for some time, that will hopefully be able to finally get them for their gardens from Palatine. The Prince is rose with good fragrance and can have at times flowers in an appealing shade of purple. I do hope that you are able to get one of these in Fall 2019 or at least by Fall 2020.

  • alameda/zone 8/East Texas

    John, so many thanks to you.........I corresponded with you some years ago about Cressida - the one I got from Hortico was a thorny octopus that was not Cressida but thanks to your generosity, I now have 2 of them from Hortico. What DA doesnt seem to understand is that many of these older Austins would probably sell as well as the newer ones - and he is inadvertently heightening the desire for his discarded ones by discontinuing them, thereby losing money. So happy to hear there is hope for the future. I am still mourning the loss of Vintage Gardens, so this is happy news indeed!

    Verdantcroft, I got several Belle Storys from Hortico some years ago, but I dont see it offered now. Seems I saw it at some smaller nursery - but cant recall where. Maybe Petals from the Past, Angel Gardens......maybe google it, check around. Maybe even Roses Unlimited. Good Luck.


  • chris209 (LI, NY Z7a)

    Would definitely love to try Crocus Rose again as a grafted plant. Maybe, at some point, they can add Pretty Jessica to their collection. I know it's one of the older DA roses in high demand.


    john_ca thanked chris209 (LI, NY Z7a)
  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley

    OT alert! My location and Zone should be next to my name. I can see it on my phone clearly, but when I read my post from my first generation iPad it only says Vaporvac. Do other people only see my name and no location or Zone? I think it's more of Houzz's silliness. Anyway, I'm in zone 6 in the Ohio River Valley with basic clay and beds abutting concrete and limestone.

  • john_ca

    Hi Judith, I sent an email to you in the last year or so regarding your Cressida plant. Perhaps you did not recognize my email address or it was swept into your junk mail. I think that the original specimen of Cressida that was sent to me was the same thorny monster that was sent to you. But I finally got the real deal. I now have 5 in my garden and at least 10 in my nursery bed-some over 3 feet tall. I want to be sure that I don't lose this one!!! Actually, we all owe a debt of gratitude to Rick Sauder, who recently moved from Ontario to British Columbia. He is the one who supplied Hortico with the bud wood for this rose that is the origin of the Cressida rose that you and I are growing, and hopefully many others. Rick has moved to Okanagan, BC where is is a volunteer at the Summerland Onrnamental Gardens. He is leading a project to put in a large planting of these older DA roses, yet another repository for these rare roses. I am in the process of shipping him 2 own rooted plants of Allux Symphony (along with 2 other roses), another lost DA rose he has been looking for for years. I will be getting the necessary Phytosanitary Certificate next week for shipment the following week.

    Regarding the older Austins vs. the newer ones: it appears that many of the early releases were crosses in which at least one of the parents was an old garden rose. In his more recent crosses, it appears that he is making crosses between 'seedlings', lines that are more 'refined'. Perhaps the newer hybrids are lacking some of the charm of the OGR's; these newer hybrids seem to be less variable in plant type and flower type. Just a thought.

    Hi Chris, Both Pretty Jessica and Crocus Rose were on the list that I sent to Rene at Palatine. I thought that he would only choose 10-15, but he picked 62. I guess he had to draw the line somewhere. I talked to him several times on the phone and he said that he already had some of the Austin roses. Hopefully both PJ and CR are among those that he has. Both of these root easily and I now have 5 PJ and 2 CR's. Both of these roses do well in my area, but my climate is very different from yours. I agree that among the older Austins, PJ is in high demand. I got my PJ from Hortico and they may still be offering it in the future.

  • jerijen

    I'm sure I missed some of this conversation, but can you say when a final list of what "took" will be available? And how one would order them? Or, is this up on Pickering's website.

    john_ca thanked jerijen
  • suebelle_neworleans

    Any hope for Troilus - my Favorite

    john_ca thanked suebelle_neworleans
  • john_ca

    Hi Jeri, I just sent the budwood to him on August 23rd. The 'budder' from England began budding the roses on August 27th and was able to graft 10 to 17 scions each onto root stock plants for each of the 62 varieties. Rene told me that the project was looking good a week or so ago, as he was seeing callus tissue developing, presumably between the scions and the rootstock plants. He says that he expects to lose some plants to the cold winter temperatures and won't really know how many he has until the spring. He also said that he is reserving the first 3 for each variety for a 'germplasm preservation' garden at his production site. The information may not be available on the Palatine website until September 2019. He hopes to have at least some available for each variety at that time but will have far more inventory the following year, in September 2020.

    I believes that Palatine uses Rosa multiflora as rootstock; I remember you posting some time ago, that this root stock does not do well in your area. If there is something that interests you please email me at and I can either send you cuttings or try to root one or several for you this fall/winter I feel like I "owe" you something, as I bought a few roses that you and your husband propagated for the rose sale at the Sacramento Historic Cemetery Rose Garden, and those roses are truly wonderful!

  • jerijen

    Hey John, Thanks!
    No, Multiflora isn't my ideal rootstock, but my existing 2 Prosperos are on it, and surviving. So I'll follow this along, and if I'm still alive and kicking in Sept. 2020, I'll be interested.

    I've tried growing Prospero OR, and it just limps along. If I get brave enough, I might try grafting my existing Dark Lady on Fortuniana -- and if that works . . .

    john_ca thanked jerijen
  • vesfl (zone 5b/6a, Western NY)

    I'm fairly positive I saw 2 potted 'Crocus Roses' on sale at the Palatine nursery when I was there earlier this summer. So they should have it but perhaps didn't offer it through mail-order which may change once vintage DAs budded on John's roses become available. They looked wonderful and very healthy.

    john_ca thanked vesfl (zone 5b/6a, Western NY)
  • Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR

    The Cressida and St. Cecilia I got from Hortico this Spring are doing great with their multiflora roots. Rick sent these to Hortico a while back. Jeri, at least I read gophers don't like to eat multiflora roots. That is one plus. I usually prefer own root, but the Palatine Ascot, Florentina, and Blarii #2 seem to be doing fine on multiflora so far and they still have roots.

  • alameda/zone 8/East Texas

    John, your email must have gone into cyberspace or ???? When I think of the several years I babied that giant squid of a supposed Cressida, lavished love on it and those awful enormous arms waving in the breeze! Not one bloom!!! After getting the one via your stock, I tossed it in the compost pile with no regrets. I wonder what it was and what bloodline it had......I had an Edgar Elger that I babiede along for several years, it finally expired this spring. Wonder if it is a plant like Summer Song and just did not want to thrive. I loved the color on Summer Song......but got 2, babied them to no avail and they croaked. Wish DA would come out with another that color that would thrive in the US. After hearing about so many failures with it here, I didnt feel so bad.


    john_ca thanked alameda/zone 8/East Texas
  • john_ca

    Judith, I have seen this 'disappearing email' phenomenon before-it does happen! The topic of my email, was to find out if the second Cressida plant that you received from Hortico, was the real deal. Now I know that it was, thanks to Rick. I also ordered Sir Edward Elgar from Hortico and was sent 2 small plants for the price of one. I planted both and both are growing well. Budwood from these plants, was sent to Rene, so others will be once again able to grow this rose if they want.. Summer Song produces a few flushes of flowers on a spindly plant. The burnt orange color commands attention. I also wish that DA would release another rose with this intense shade of red-orange. It is so frustrating that this rose simply fails to thrive even if you water and feed it well, especially after seeing photos on the website of it growing so well in the gardens of Europeans.

  • alameda/zone 8/East Texas

    Seems DA could combine several roses in the apricot shades to try to get a plant similiar. I breed horses, and full siblings can be different. Wonder what would happen if they use the same genetics of Summer Song again - might get a stronger plant with the same coloration. Lady Emma Hamilton, Dame Judi Dench, Carding Mill, Port Sunlight, Tea Clipper........all could be sources of breeding material, or could go outside the box and bring in other apricot/russet roses. Or try any color rose with a strong plant. Possibilities are endless. I love pink roses, but I wish DA would pursue this apricot color. Too bad roses arent like horses - you breed Summer Song, the stud rose, to all these other roses and 11 months later you have a baby! Strange how SS thrives in England but nowhere in the US.


    john_ca thanked alameda/zone 8/East Texas
  • devsense

    I think i have seen Pretty Jessica in Horticos list , currently its not there , though they do list some old roses like Molineux , Tamora , Mary Rose , Crocus , Redoute.

    john_ca thanked devsense
  • hugogurll

    Don't be surprised if Austin lawyers up on Palatine.

    john_ca thanked hugogurll
  • john_ca

    The vintage David Austin roses that Palatine selected are either roses that are now off patent (patents expire after 20 years of issuance) or were never patented. I believe that means that anyone is free to propagate and sell these roses as they are in the public domaine.

    DAR did trademark the names of some of the roses that were releases, especially in the early days. I presume that he did this as it is cheaper to get a trademark than it is to get a patent, and that a trademark may discourage at least some from propagating and selling his roses. My understanding of the significance of a trademarked name, is that other propagator/vendors can propagate those varieties, but not sell those roses under the trademarked name with DAR's permission. Heritage(R) is a trademarked name, so propagator/vendors can't sell the rose as 'Heritage' But they can sell them under the 'appellation', which is a type of code that is recognized internationally. The appellation consists of 2 parts: the first part in all caps, is a code designating the name of the company; the second is a code name selected by the breeder for a particular rose, isin lower case. Therefore the name for 'Heritage(R)' is 'AUSblush' High Country Roses is currently selling Heritage(R) as AUSblush. I may be wrong, but I don't think that companies that are selling these off patent or never patented roses, have a business arrangement with DAR.

    Therefore, I don't think that DAR has a reason to 'lawyer up'. If there are any lawyers out there, perhaps they can weigh in.

  • john_ca

    devsense, I believe that the roses that Hortico currently has listed online, are those that they have in inventory now, that can be shipped. After they dig their new crop, perhaps in October to November and take inventory, they will list the new inventory online. PJ has been a hot rose lately, and I would not be surprised if they produced a good number of plants that will appear online in November.

  • littlesmokie

    John thank you for posting & your dedication to rosedom. I’m thrilled to learn of all this & would love to purchase a few of these on multiflora, a rootstock that performs fabulously here in Portland.

    Cymbeline & Lordly Oberon are two that I kick myself for discarding years (2 houses) ago. I held on to Moonbeam. I never see anyone talk about that rose, I suppose because it’s a semi double (doesn’t have that ”Austin” look) but 20 some years and hundreds of roses later it’s still a favorite: strong fragrance, thornless, sets pretty orange hips, no disease/no spray—quite a feat—and just has a certain charm about the way it opens with a boss of pretty stamens. I’d love to see it shared/preserved & you’ve inspired me try to root some cuttings. Thanks again

    john_ca thanked littlesmokie
  • Rachel Ohio-Zone6A
    Pretty Jessica is listed on the Grace Rose Farm HMF list for this fall :) their roses will be crafted on multiflora.
    john_ca thanked Rachel Ohio-Zone6A
  • Rachel Ohio-Zone6A
    Thank you so much to John and everyone else involved. I’ve been searching for sources of Austin’s on Multiflora, after the The suggestions her for multiflora in my zone as opposed to dr. Huey. As a new rosarian, I am just so thankful for for the wealth of knowledge and resources, and this community willing to share what they love with others. It’s wonderful :)
    john_ca thanked Rachel Ohio-Zone6A
  • sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

    I would love it if someone offered Belle Story grafted. I don't even care if its on multiflora as long as its the true Belle Story.

  • oldrosarian

    I have filled in the gaps on John-ca list of Austins to Palatine. Also sent Palatine loads of cuttings and budwood for the older well loved cultivars of climbers,ramblers, shrubs and OGRs. I am not allowed to say what they are because some may not take or grow.

    john_ca thanked oldrosarian
  • john_ca

    Oldrosarian, That's great! There are a number of others that I don't have in my collection that may be in the group that you sent. I will be looking forward to seeing what other Austin and OGRs that he may be selling in the future. Thanks for your contribution!!!!

  • Rosefolly

    Vaporvac, I do see your zone and location next to your name. I didn't see that anyone else had responded but I scanned quickly so I may have missed it.

    As to multiflora, I have the alkaline soil common in the west that is supposed to work poorly for multiflora. However, the 3 roses I ordered from Pickering in their final year did quite well in my garden. I for one would not hesitate to order a rose grafted on multiflora. There are times when a grafted rose is actually better - for example any gallica or rugosa you don't want to fill up an entire bed.

  • gdinieontarioz5

    Rosefolly, grafting might be able to curb the world conquering tendencies of my R. virginiana plena too, I guess. And just a thought: would Palatine possibly be interested in bud wood from that one?

  • HalloBlondie (zone5a) Ontario, Canada
    I'm a little late to this conversation, but I was very interested to see this topic. It's exciting for me as I live just a couple hours away from Palatine. So whatever ones they do grow have a very good chance of survival & similar disease resistance. I'm a very novice rose grower compared to many of you on here; I'm only going into my fourth year. I have expanded and planted excitedly each spring. My rose purchases so far have been potted plants through nursery & garden centres. Buying whatever has been available & what has caught my fancy. But it has been a learning curve of what can survive here through cold winters & grow well in hot humid summers. So I have lost roses that are not meant for my winters - ie. hybrid teas, grandifloras, etc. By using this forum I have learned so much about the antiques & ogrs. Which I absolutely love the look of. It has really opened up the possibilities for me. And the Austin shrub roses have captured my heart. And they seem to be doing well for me overall. So in saying all that; I really appreciate the work of those who are expanding the availability of these rarer rose to the general public. I have found many common non rose growing gardeners to not even recognize a rose that is not modern. I have had people ask me what kind of flowers I grow while looking at a shrub rose. They think they are peonies or something all together different. When I tell them that it is a rose they are kind of shocked. I have also found that more & more garden centres in my area have doubled their stock in Austin roses in the past season because people are buying them as soon as they see the pictures on the tags. Two of our garden centres sold out of their Austin roses within a week because of their new popularity. That can only aid in having larger quantities ordered the next year. And that is not just the ones that are licensed in the green pots. These are also ones that are sold under the Aus labels in plain black pots. Last year Othello, Mary, Charles Austin, Pat Austin & a discontinued white (which I can't remember) were available. And according to the rose guy at my garden centre, told me his local supplier grows these ones because they are rock solid performers in this area. I can only hope that this new level of awareness will expand the market to more varieties. I find it very frustrating to see so many varieties posted online that I would love to grow, but do not have the ability to purchase. I'm still kicking myself for not purchasing a couple discontinued varieties that I saw for sale in my first year of gardening because I did not know what a shrub rose was, let alone an Austin rose. One that I remember was fisherman's friend, mentioned above, it was at the garden centre at my local grocery stores of all places. Knowing what I know now & having online resources here; I won't be passing up rare roses anymore!
    john_ca thanked HalloBlondie (zone5a) Ontario, Canada
  • Ann9BNCalif

    HalloBlondie - I purchased Fisherman's Friend from Hortico last year and it appears to be available again. Here's a link:

    Hortico David Austin Roses

    Hope that helps!


    john_ca thanked Ann9BNCalif
  • HalloBlondie (zone5a) Ontario, Canada
    @Ann- Thanks for the link. I was actually looking at the Hortico website today after reading this forum post. They are also within a short drive for me. I would not be surprised to learn they are one of the nursery suppliers for our local garden centres. They have a whole lot of the roses that tend to be seen here.
    john_ca thanked HalloBlondie (zone5a) Ontario, Canada
  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    My mouth was watering while looking at the huge selection of older English roses at Hortico. Wouldn't you know it, so much is available now when I can't order new roses.

    john_ca thanked ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9
  • HalloBlondie (zone5a) Ontario, Canada
    So I was online doing a little rose research this afternoon. And to add to my comments, I remembered one of the wholesale nurseries that supply many of our bigger Canadian stores, ie. grocery & hardware ones. They are located in the same sort of area as Palatine's. Anyways, this wholesaler grows 200 kinds of roses, mostly modern ones. But they also have 20 Austin's. A few which were mentioned previously. The wholesaler is JC Bakker & Sons, they have a nice website for browsing. But it seems to be for commercial buying. Here's what they grow.

    1. Graham Thomas
    2. Gertrude Jekyl
    3. Fisherman's Friend
    4. Fair Bianca
    5. Heritage
    6. Othello
    7. William Morris
    8. Teasing Georgia
    9. Rose - Marie (sport of Heritage)
    10. Gentle Hermione
    11. Evelyn
    12. Lichfield Angel
    13. James Galway
    14. Boscobel
    15. Port Sunlight
    16. The Generous Gardener
    17. Crown Princess Margareta
    18. Eglantyne
    19. Abraham Darby
    20. A Shropshire Lad

    As you can see, some older ones with some new. Even though I can't order individually, they supply a lot of stores. So there is hope that I will see these for sale at regular stores. Can't wait until spring for rose hunting!
    john_ca thanked HalloBlondie (zone5a) Ontario, Canada
  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley

    Is amazing! Perhaps you could call and ask them who they Supply. You never know!

  • witchygirrl6bwv

    If anyone knows where I can get my grubby hands on Anne Boleyn , please let me know. I had her years ago, but she was murdered a month after planting by a mower. *update- I called Austin and ordered her. 45 dollars (ouch!), and I'll get it next spring. When they become available anywhere else, I'll buy another. I just wanted to finally have one in my clutches.

  • john_ca

    I sent cuttings of Anne Boleyn and 61 other vintage David Austin roses, to Rene Schmitz at Palatine Roses in Ontario, Canada for propagation purposes in late summer 2018. He was able to produce 10 to 17 grafted plants (Rosa multiflora) for each of these 62. He will keep 3 plants of each for a preservation garden. He will be putting the remaining roses up for sale in September of 2019. He will not know how many of the plants for each variety will have survived the winter, until the snow melts. I do believe that Hummingbird Roses (Michigan) will have own root plants of this variety along with many other Austin varieties for sale in late summer or fall.

  • witchygirrl6bwv

    I bookmarked hummingbird. Thank you John. I'll probably be sending a lot of orders their way. Own roots do best for me.

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    This is my Potter and Moore rose (first two pictures) that I've had for quite a few years through very hot summers, which it seems to tolerate fairly well although of course it's not at its best in triple-digit heat. Mine is planted where it has very late afternoon shade.

    Pretty Jessica ( below)

    Cottage Rose

  • Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR

    So lovely! Glad to see you posting Ingrid.

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    It just goes to show, Sheila, that roses can make any situation better! We had a young man helping in the garden today which meant that my three roses newly arrived from ARE have been planted and the yard overall looks much better than it has in quite some time.

  • oursteelers 8B PNW

    Potter and Moore and PrettyJessica are gorgeous! I feel like I remember looking for Pretty Jessica when I was shopping the winter sales and I couldn‘t find her. Is she hard to locate?

  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley

    She is oursteelers. Here is HMF's listing of those carrying her: Pretty Jessica

  • biff72

    Ingrid. Do you know where I could find a potter and moore?

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

    biff72, so sorry I did not see your question sooner. I notice that Grace Rose Farm has it in their list of soon to arrive roses. I don't see it anywhere else, unless I've missed it.

  • Nola Thistle Thrower Z5aWI

    Ingrid - Your pictures of Potter & Moore are beautiful! I love the way the petals fold back at the edge. Is it fragrant?

  • Sean (Zone 9a, The Netherlands)

    Wow... Impressive project. I just saw Tradescant on sale from a Dutch website so I'm now inspired to get it.

    john_ca thanked Sean (Zone 9a, The Netherlands)
  • Dave6aMO

    Hi John, did you ever receive an update from Rene?

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