Austin’s first commercially available rose, Rosa ‘Constance Spry’, was introduced in 1961. In 1967 and 1968 he introduced ‘Chianti’ and ‘Shropshire Lass’ respectively. Although these first roses bloomed only once in spring or early summer, they led, in 1969, to a series of remontant (repeat-flowering) varieties, including ‘Wife of Bath’ and ‘Canterbury’ (both in honour of the English author Geoffrey Chaucer). Austin’s roses soon became the most successful group of new roses in the twentieth century.
Though Austin’s roses are not officially recognised as a separate class of roses by, for instance, the Royal National Rose Society or the American Rose Society, they are nonetheless commonly referred to by rosarians, at nurseries, and in horticultural literature as ‘English Roses’ or ‘Austin Roses’.
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