Noted Rosarian David Austin Passes Away
David Austin, Sr., noted rosarian and founder of David Austin Roses Ltd. died peacefully at his home in Shropshire, England, on Dec. 18. He was 92.
For more than 75 years, Austin’s dedication to roses brought fragrance and beauty to gardens all over the world. He bred more than 200 English Roses during his career, unwaveringly in pursuit of an ever more beautiful rose.
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 ability to repeat flower common to the more modern Hybrid Teas. This realization sowed the seeds for the collection of English Roses as 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. Amongst the expansive collection, notable varieties include ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ – twice voted the England’s favorite rose – and more recently, ‘Olivia Rose Austin’.
Austin was rewarded for his contributions to horticulture, receiving gold standard accolades at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and an OBE for services to horticulture in 2007.
His son, David Austin, Jr., managing director of the company for the last 25 years said, “My Father — or Mr A as he was affectionately known within the wider Austin — 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”.
The Austin family invites anyone who wishes to share their memories and condolences to send these to Remembering Mr. Austin.