Removing a Rose Bush for a Greater Purpose

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David Austin Roses
David Austin Roses growing amidst a periwinkle blue fence

A Tale of Roses: A David Austin Rose Experiment

I adore roses. For those who have followed me for a while, this comes as no surprise. I’ve grown roses for almost thirty years. Rose gardens are so beautiful. They are the one plant responsible for inspiring me to get my degree in Horticulture. 

So, why am I taking out a rose? Have I gone crazy? 

Olivia Rose with pink petals and a lovely scent

‘Olivia Rose’

Exploring David Austin Roses: A Rose Garden Project

Let me give you a little background. For the past few years, I have grown new rose varieties in my Arizona garden, given to me by David Austin Roses to see how they perform in the low desert regions of Arizona each year, and I report which varieties do well. These types of roses are easy to grow, have a beautiful old-fashioned flower shape, and are highly fragrant. Once people grow a David Austin rose, they seldom go back to other kinds.

Preparing for New Roses: Saying Goodbye to an Underperforming Rose Bush

This year, I am working on a project, with the assistance of the folks at David Austin Roses, which spans two rose gardens, located in very different climates. The first garden is mine, located in Arizona, and the second belongs to my daughter, who lives in northern Michigan. The project consists of each of us growing two identical varieties of roses and a different one that is reported to do better in our respective climates.

A man digging int he garden

Welcoming New Roses: Planting the David Austin Beauties

Before planting new roses, I had to get my rose garden ready for new roses, which meant that one had to go. And so, I asked my husband to dig out one of the roses from the garden.

David Austin Rose dug up

The rose bush I chose to remove didn’t do very well and only looks nice three months of the year, while those remaining do much better. So, the decision was easy.

David Austin Roses in the mail

Soon that garden was ready, and the roses arrived from David Austin. I always experience a feeling akin to Christmas morning whenever new roses come in the mail.

David Austin Roses bare root rose

It never ceases to amaze me how something so beautiful has such a humble beginning.

Soaking the David Austin Roses bare root rose

I soaked the roses for 24 hours and then planted them. Two months later, they are covered in buds, and I can’t wait for them to open.

winter snow on a rose stem

As for my daughter’s garden, she isn’t quite ready to be planting any roses as it is sitting under a layer of snow so she will be planting hers in a month or so.

I’ll keep you updated throughout the rose project and highlighting the differences and similarities of growing roses in a hot and cold climate. 

Next, I will share with you the varieties growing in my garden along with pictures of their first blooms. Have you ever grown David Austin roses?

Goodbye to the Godfather of English Roses

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
5 replies
  1. Laura
    Laura says:

    I didn’t know about soaking the bare-root roses for 24 hours. I planted my first one this year and it never set leaves. Maybe I should have soaked it first – good to know, in case I ever try this again.


  2. Lori
    Lori says:

    I love roses too. Had a beautiful rose garden at a previous house and have been so busy on the new place that I haven’t had time to plant roses. I need to find a good spot so I can plant some. Definitely going to try David Austin roses.

  3. Sandy Smith
    Sandy Smith says:

    I did read in one of Mary Irish’s books that you could grow roses in zone 9, but I was a little skeptical. The AZ plant lady has the magic touch 🙂 and a husband who’s a keeper! My Mum-in-law gave me Glamis Castle (I checked, not a DA), and it didn’t work out at the beach: mildew, rust, aphids, etc. It was a very full bloom and we didn’t receive enough heat and sun to let it ‘shine’ so to speak (the buds opened and immediately dropped all the petals.). I gave it to someone who lives further inland and its doing very well..

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