Tess of The d'Urbervilles RoseA rose that is much debated, Tess of The d'Urbervilles is a consistent performer, a David Austin roses perhaps seen as a little 'old fashioned', however this fragrant climber does have a number of strong points.
It seems with Tess of The d'Urbervilles we might have the best of the old mixed with the best of the new.
The confusion seems to be over the size, with it being sold as a shrub that will get to 1.2m and also a 'small climber' that will get to around 2-5m, so for the average gardener thats a lot of difference.
Price - Around £20 for a good plant
Lets look at a summary of the good points. Tess of The d'Urbervilles does have large 'bright crimson' flowers that are deeply cupped, that are consistent throughout the season, a generous flowerer.
- A mild fragrance but pleasant, we could not ay that this is a heavily perfumed rose, however the perfume is apparent.
- Long lasting flowers, both as cut flowers and on the bush itself.
- And seemingly with better disease resistance than some others, black spot resistant, maybe not completely, but it does not suffer as much as some.
Now the growth habit is debated, sometimes sold as a shrub and sometimes as a climber, we find it in the middle. With excellent soil and good sun we think it would be a climber, in poorer soils a tall shrub ' with a climbing inclination' and can be trained as a climber.
This is also a rose that seems to sit happily in a container, so for those with a courtyard, or sunny terrace this could be a solution.
- Plant in a sunny position, a minimum of 6 hours sun a day is recommended for roses, in a well drained soil and provide support for young plants.
- Before planting dig in some well rotted compost and decomposed animal manure, preferably 2-3 weeks before planting, this allows any 'heat' in the manure or compost to dissipate. Water in well well after planting and mulch to provide a cool root run.
- Prune in early spring cutting back any old dead, disease d or damaged wood to start with. Remove canes that cross and open up the centre to allow good air movement, this helps reduce disease.
- As Tess of the d'Urbervilles is a strong growing variety remaining canes can be cut back by 1/2 to an outward facing bud, to maintain a shrubby habit
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