Saturday, June 2, 2012

Heritage of Blooms

It occurred to me last weekend, and I find it incredibly hard to believe, that I've somehow overlooked blogging about David Austin's 'Heritage' rose before now. 

'Heritage' has a prime spot in my landscape, right out in front of the house towards the right corner, next to the driveway and walkway.  That site is on the west side of the house and she gets a little less sun (maybe 8 hours/day at the height of summer) than some of my roses, but she seems none the worst for the partial shade.  She is about 8 years old, own root, and she's a tall vase-shaped rose (about 6 feet tall) with a lot of presence in the border.  That first bloom, with all those shell-pink delicate blossoms, is a stunner.

'Heritage', or 'AUSblush', has always been a healthy bush for me, with little blackspot and no mildew.  I don't spray her healthy, glossy dark green foliage, but I do provide a little extra water to this bed at the height of summer because it tends to dry out fast with the hot afternoon sun.  She has strong erect canes, never slouching or breaking to the wind, and I commonly go into Spring with between 10 and 15 healthy strong canes on this rose after pruning.  Winter hardiness in my formerly Zone 5B climate was and still is very good, with no dieback noted in most years.

'Heritage' was released by Austin's English Roses breeding program in 1984. Classified as a shrub rose, like many of Austin's creations, she bears light pink, fully double flowers of up to 40 petals that are 4 inches or so in diameter. The flowers are, as advertised, very fragrant when you bury your nose in them, but this is not a rose that I've noticed perfuming the air around it, no matter how prolific the bloom.  I've also found that she doesn't last very long in a vase, but her initial beauty keeps me bringing those blooms inside to stay in the good graces of  Mrs. ProfessorRoush.   She keeps her few thorns to herself (the rose, not Mrs. ProfessorRoush), and is ladylike in her manners, and so she is safely placed near my walkway to the front door.  A tetraploid rose, her parentage is described as a seedling X 'Iceberg'.  Knowing that, I'd like to add that 'Heritage' is a much healthier rose in Kansas, in my experience, than 'Iceberg', who seems to be a better rose everywhere else than here.

I only grow a few English Roses, among which are 'The Dark Lady', 'Mary Rose', and 'Golden Celebration', but so far 'Heritage' would be my pick for Kansas, since the bloom form, hardiness, and health of the bush are more dependable than the others.  It is not an accident that this rose is likely the first that a visitor to my house would encounter. 

1 comment:

  1. I agree about Heritage; she is a wonderful rose in the PNW as well.


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