David Austin, the rosarian and founder of David Austin Roses Ltd., died in December, 2018 at age 92. Over the past 20 years, U.S. and Canadian gardeners came to know Austin as the creator of beautiful, fragrant English roses.
He bred more than 200 English roses during his extraordinary career. From a farming background, Austin developed a keen interest in old roses in his early twenties. He felt that although the old roses were charming and often had magnificent fragrances, they were lacking in the color diversity and repeat blooming common to the more modern hybrid teas. This belief was the basis for the collection of English roses that gardeners enjoy today. He set about creating an entirely new rose, which combined the beauty and fragrance of old roses with the benefits of modern roses. His first English rose was ‘Constance Spry,’ launched in 1961. Notable varieties include ‘Gertrude Jekyll’—twice voted England’s favorite rose—and more recently, ‘Olivia Rose Austin.’
David Austin Jr., son and Managing Director of the company for the last 25 years said, “My father was a remarkable man. His love for the art of rose breeding was truly inspiring; he loved nothing more than seeing the pleasure that his roses gave to others.
His presence will be sorely missed within the global family company that he created. But the passion he instilled will continue and we will hold true to my father’s vision when he founded the company almost 50 years ago.”