David Austin Roses showcasing two new personalities from its English Rose collection at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show next month.
Thomas Hardy fans will recognise the new roses bearing the names of two beloved characters from the author's classic novels - Eustacia Vye in ‘The Return of the Native’ (1878) and Gabriel Oak in ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ (1874).
Named after the exotically beautiful but restless heroine of The Return of the Native, Eustacia Vye is an exceedingly pretty rose of soft, glowing apricot-pink. Each bloom is packed with multiple delicately ruffled petals, held on red-tinged stems. With a medium-strong fruity fragrance and bushy, upright growth, this is a strikingly beautiful variety.
Dignified, hardworking and honest, Far from the Madding Crowd's central male character is the inspiration for the aesthetically impressive Gabriel Oak. A vigorous rose, bearing large many-petalled rosette blooms, this variety is very much in the style of the Old Roses, with outer petals in a striking shade of deep pink which pale slightly over time. It has a strong fruity fragrance.
MD David Austin (pictured) said: "As many will know, Chelsea Flower Show holds a very special place in our hearts. It is where in 1983 my father, David Austin Snr - or Mr A as he was known - introduced the very first English Rose varieties to overwhelming acclaim from the press and general public. The following year these beautiful, fragrant and hardy roses began to be recognised with the first of many gold medals at Chelsea.
"A calendar highlight for my father, it is a pleasure and a privilege to be exhibiting with two new English Rose varieties that were lovingly created and nurtured over the last nine years under his ever-watchful eye."
The two new roses will be seen for the first time in bloom at the show, creating the focal point of David Austin's Secret Garden themed display. The garden, in the Grand Pavilion, promises a stunning show of scent and colour set in a fluid, circular design.