SO MANY OF YOUR WEDDINGS FEATURE DAVID AUSTIN ROSES – but I wonder if anyone really thinks about the life’s work that has gone into creating these incredible flowers? How this one great man effectively started the business from his kitchen table in Shropshire and grew it to an everlasting legacy that transcends his death in December last year. After years spent developing the roses that fill your bouquets and cascade down your cakes, David went on to win many Chelsea Flower Show gold medals – his rose garden remains a highlight of the Show to this day.
He masterminded one of the largest rose-breeding programmes in the world – no small success when you consider that it took him nine years to develop each new breed and he was releasing three a year. For each new rose, some 120,000 were grown for research. The Graham Thomas was voted the world’s favourite, the Gertrude Jekyll the UK’s.
The Best Roses for Wedding Bouquets Photo Gallery
In 2004 came the cut roses, which have been used in royal weddings the world over and countless weddings that cross my desk every week. More than 240 rose varieties bear David’s name and, intriguingly, before he died, he took a look into the future, having already created the next new breeds which will, hopefully, be appearing at weddings nine years from now. Leading florists continue to take inspiration from him, so I asked them to nominate their favourite David Austin rose of all time. Which one will you have at your wedding, I wonder?
I remember the first time I took delivery of buckets of David Austin roses for a Brides shoot in 2010, when my all-time favourite Juliet rose was in abundance. For me, this peach-toned, teacup shaped, scented rose sums up why I fell in love with flowers in the beginning. Even now, 20 years into my career, holding David’s roses makes me smile. Not only did he develop, grow and sell some of the world’s best roses, he also built a company that sets the standard for all rose growers. I travel the world teaching floristry and see the demand for David’s roses. I love that I can buy them in South Korea and use them in my classes there, reminding me of home. As I think of my favourite weddings and the absolute best times I’ve had working with flowers, David Austin roses have played a part on so many of those days. His legacy will live on as he continues to inspire florists like me and give brides the world over the flowers they dream of.
VIC BROTHERSON SCARLET & VIOLET
It was very early on in my life that I came across the name David Austin. I remember the shrub roses being mentioned by my mum and her gardener friends as the most covetable plants. Now, as a florist, David Austin cut roses have become so familiar to me – beautiful varieties that have maintained the essence of the P original garden roses. Kate Patience, Juliet, Constance, Edith, Charity, Darcey, and Margaret Merril are all extraordinary and totally individual, but Beatrice has become my favourite (overcoming my fear of yellow!). It’s a rose that’s strong enough to use at weddings and the buttery shade makes all the flowers around it sing – there’s nothing at all quite like it.
MAIREAD CURTIN REBEL REBEL
Juliet is such a fabulous staple for bridal flowers – the colour is just perfect. Kate, Patience, Constance and Darcey are marvellous, but my favourite is Tess – a sumptuous red with a hint of pink. Unfortunately, they’re not so easy to get! We once suggested using Tess for a wall at a Burberry event and needed quite a lot – we had every supplier we could think of looking for them. David opened up people’s expectations of what a rose can do and introduced us all to the beauty of English garden roses.
David Austin roses are the epitome of romance and have been on my favourites list for a long time. I’d struggle to tell you my favourite colour – I just revel in the fact that there’s something for every palette, from the claret-dipped Darcey to the Peach Melba Juliet; the perfect addition to a quintessentially English wedding.