If there has been a bright spot in this rainy May of rose floriferousness failures, it has been the way that the English rose 'Golden Celebration' has begun to grow on me. I've never been a great fan of the English roses, but this year I would be hard pressed to tell you why. 'Heritage' has always been a standout in my front garden, but after 'The Dark Lady' sulked for several years, and 'Mary Rose' dwindled in the shade, and 'Benjamin Britton' failed to wow me with color, I was less than enthusiastic about adding more of that tribe to my garden. This year, all these and more have perked up to be the stars of my garden, perhaps not coincidentally in a year where May has been as cold and rainy as the British climate they were bred and chosen for. Could it be that simple?
'Golden Celebration' (AUSgold) is a 1992 introduction by David Austin but it was slow to cross the Atlantic. It is supposed to mature at four feet tall and I expect it to reach that height this year. This child of 'Charles Austin' and 'Abraham Darby' seems to be cane hardy here in Zone 5b and I saw no dieback at all this past winter. I've never grown 'Charles Austin', but this specimen of 'Golden Celebration' seems much more vigorous and hardy than 'Abraham Darby', of whom I killed several before I gave it up as a lost cause. Right now, as 'Golden Celebration' takes its rightful place as a star in my garden, the only drawback I can see to it is that I planted it too close to an own-root start of 'Double Delight', which it threatens to overwhelm soon. I'll undoubtedly move the 'Double Delight', since I now can't risk losing 'Golden Celebration'.
Addendum 6/4/12; I feel obligated to add that in July of 2011, and now in June of 2012, Golden Celebration has proven to be somewhat susceptible to blackspot and may not be suitable in a non-spray garden. The lower leaves have dropped and a fair portion of the foliage is affected.