There’s more to love than flowers on Valentine’s Day, and there’s more to this red, red rose than meets the eye. Darcey Bussell, a 2008 introduction from David Austin Roses, is a small shrub rose with fragrant, repeat-blooming, deep red rosettes. The moderate-sized crimson flowers, with about 70 petals each, have a deliciously fruity scent, and the plant itself is a tidy size. If you’ve got room for a doormat on your balcony, you’ve got room for this beauty: It will thrive in a large container as well as in a perennial bed. A bouquet in a vase is nice, but a garden with this spectacular rose will keep romance at your door for months.
Common name: Rose
Botanical name: Rosa ‘Ausdecorum’ Darcey Bussell
Plant type: Shrub
Zones: 5 to 9
Height: 3 feet
· Sun: At least 5 to 6 hours of sun. Afternoon shade in hot regions.
· Soil: Rich in organic matter.
· Moisture: Average to moist, and well-drained.
· Mulch: Mulch to preserve moisture in the soil.
· Pruning: Prune branches to about half their height in late winter or early spring.
· Fertilizer: Fertilize roses in containers once every two to four weeks; fertilize roses in the ground about once a month in spring and early summer.
· By cuttings.
Pests and diseases
· Roses in general are vulnerable to a variety of diseases, including powdery mildew, black spot, cankers, and botrytis blight. Darcey Bussell is said to have good disease resistance.
· Aphids, spider mites, caterpillars, cane borers, and Japanese beetles can be serious problems.
· Like most other English roses, Darcey Bussell has a strong fragrance. Plant it where you will be able to appreciate the fragrance daily: along a path that you use every day, near a doorway, or next to the patio or deck.
· Because its mature size is only 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide, Darcey Bussell can be tucked into a large pot or in a small flower bed.
· Underplant with white alyssum, thyme, or lavender. White, pink, and pale purple marry well with the deep crimson color of the roses.
All in the family
· Rosaceae is a large family—it contains 3,000 to 4,000 species, including many of our favorite fruit trees and bushes.
Where to Buy
David Austin Roses
(Text by Elizabeth Noll, photo of Rosa ‘Ausdecorum’ Darcey Bussell courtesy of David Austin Roses, www.davidaustinroses.com)