Thursday, July 10, 2008

Constance Spry

A truly remarkable rose named after the famous English florist, flower decorator, designer and gardener; Constance Spry. If you are interested in reading more about her, click on the name and read about her life and her books about flowers, flower arranging, flower decorations and gardening. It is not difficult to see why she in the Wikipedia Article about her is called the "the Martha Stewart of mid-century Britain".

The rose Constance Spry is remarkable since it was the first rose introduced by Shropshire farmer David Austin in 1961. David Austins roses have since become some of the worlds most popular and loved roses. The parentage of this rose was the Gallica rose Belle Isis x Dainty Maid (A Floribunda rose). The Seedlings from a once flowering rose will only be once - or summer-flowering too. The true popularity of Austin Roses is however caused by their ability to repeat flower, and still produce flowers looking like once flowering Old Garden Roses with their great scent too.

Constance Spry's flowers are soft pink and huge! Cup - or bowl shaped, formed by the petals curving inwards, in concentric circles, sometimes showing yellow stamens. Like other once or summer flowering roses it blooms overwhelmingly for about 4 weeks. After it has flowered the laterals are pruned a bit and secured. It is important to train the laterals and secure them as they grow the rest of the year, since the flowers next year, will be produced from these older canes. A late large flowered clematis or a late flowering Viticella clematis is the perfect companion for a summer flowering rose like constance Spry. I grow mine with Clematis Viticella 'Polish Spirit'. If you look carefully you can see the clematis climbing the rose, and it will bloom after the rose, from late July until mid October here.

The rose is also remarkable because of the strong sweet myrrh scent, perhaps caused by the Ayrshire rose ancestry of the Gallica Rose Belle Isis? I think it has the finest, sweetest myrrh fragrances in the world. Some say that myrrh scent in roses smell like Wrigley bubble gum, candy floss or medicinal creams. Not all like these myrrh scented roses, Constance Spry has enough "old rose fragrance" to balance the myrrh note. Other Myrrh scented Austin Roses are: Glamis Castle, Fair Bianca, St. Swithun, Scepter'D Isle and St. Cecilia. Even the Leaves and especially the reddish soft bristle-like thorns on Constance spry has a very spicy fragrance - like balsam fir resin.

Most grow Constance Spry as a climber. It is very easy to train the flexible long canes, and the more they are twisted horizontally around a support, the more flowers will be produced next year, since it flowers on "Old Wood". Another fine quality Constance Spry has, is winter hardiness. Not many climbers are as winter hardy as Constance Spry. Nova Scotia Agriculture College evaluated 58 English Roses to assess their hardiness and disease-resistance. Constance Spry was found to be winter hardy.
In September 1998, the Montreal Botanical Garden -Le Jardin Botanique de Montreal carried out a survey of its roses' resistance to black spot, powdery mildew and rust. Constance Spry was one of the outstanding varieties which showed a 0% to 5% infection rate. The data was taken on well-established roses. That being said, some of it´s leaves does get some very characteristic brown spots, I have not seen on other roses.


지이 곽 said...

so beautiful roses they are!!!!

Perennial Gardener said...

That is a gorgeous rose, and with all the great characteristics you listed it would be a fantastic specimen in any garden.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

very pretty, wish I had more room.

Karen said...

I do love david austin roses! I hope to make more room next year for more more more. lol

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi Niels,

Mange tak for visiting my blog and commenting. How nice to meet a Danish garden blogger at last. I thought there were none as I hadn't found any in over a year. :-D

I saw Constance Spry in flower in a British garden and it was great. I don't have the space for her otherwise I'd buy her straight away. I did buy another Austin rose recently: Fisherman's Friend. Do you know it? Its flowers and scent are superb!

nikkipolani said...

A perfectly timed post, Niels! I just got off the phone with a friend in zone 5 who's looking for a hardy climber. Thank you for all the details of this rose.

Piondröm said...

Jätte fina bilder på roser.
Vi bor i sydliga Sverige men i kallt område så vi kan bara ha roser som går i zon 4.
Dom Kanadensiska roserna är bra för oss.
Skulle så gjärna kunna odla Austin roser dom är så vackra.

Amy said...

These are absolutely stunning!

Anna said...

This is a beautiful blog. Love all the information on roses. I will look to your site for more post on outstanding selections and advice on roses. I see some other fun stuff too. It's always nice to meet another out of control garden junkie. Im a garden shop a holic too. Good to meet you.

Rosehaven Cottage said...

I am such a fan of David Austin roses even though I only have one--the Abraham Darby. It looks a lot like the Constance Spry. It's the rose I have featured in my blog template design. I wonder how much it smells like the Constance Spry.

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Ewa said...

Constance Spry - I will remember that name. I plan to buy some more roses to my garden, so maybe it will be this one :)
Scent is always I am looking for in the garden, so Constance is a good candidate. Thanks again.

Katarina i Kullavik said...

Such a lovely rose - its colour and its shape is perfect! And what a splendid idea to have a clematis grow next to her - that way you get a flowering shrub for a very long time.

Niels Plougmann said...

Thank you all for your visit - I look forward visiting your blogs too. Constance Spry does get big, so it´s true that it needs some space!

I see you know a little Danish Yolanda Elizabeth! I really like Fishermans Friend - it may be a little coarse like Othello, but their scent is amazing.

Nikkipolani: Baltimore Belle may also be an option for your friend -or why not choose both!

Ken: I would have thought you were at least in USDA zone 5 - But if you live inland and not near the sea it sure is colder. But I am sure you can grow Constance Spry.

Cindy: Abraham Darby has a very different fragrance - Strong rosy/fruity with a refreshing sharpness. Constance Spry has a strong sweet rosy/myrrh scent. But Abraham Darby repeatflowers!

jimminyjojo said...

I had the good fortune to travel to England this summer (from Ohio) and I visited Warwick Castle which had a very cool rose garden. The Constance Spry was by far the best rose there. Someday I might try growing them myself!

Sophie Malamatenios said...

I brought a David Austin Constance Spry rose last autumn and it has not produced any blooms so far, I would be grateful if anyone has any ideas as to why it has not x

Niels Plougmann said...

Sophie: As most once flowering roses - Constance Spry "blooms from old wood" meaning that it will flower from shoots produced from last years canes. It takes a year or 2 to produce some long shoots - and shoots from these will flower - next season. It means that the rose over the years will grow bigger and you need to train and tie in the canes to the supporting structure. After 3 years and onwards the rose will put out lots of flowers during 3-4 weeks. So give it some time and make sure you keep and secure the long shoots.