Lush English Roses for Your Garden

Constance Spry English Rose

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English garden roses are the antidote to the odorless, tightly bound rosebuds you see at the supermarket flower stand. Most cut rose sold commercially are hybrid roses, and while they are very beautiful flowers, there is a sameness to their appearance, and they generally don't have the wonderful scent found in old rose varieties. English roses were developed by horticulturaist David Austin starting in 1969 with the aim of combining the best attributes of modern hybrid roses (disease resistance, reblooming habit, and unusual colors) with the best attributes of so-called Old Roses developed before 1867 (delightful fragrance and full multi-petal flowers with a cupped or rosette shape).

David Austin's project involved crossing old-style Gallicas, Damasks, Portlands, and Bourbons with modern hybrid teas, floribundas, and climbers to produce a group that are today known collectively as English roses or David Austin roses. Most of these plants have a more shrub-like form than hybrid roses, but they bloom repeatedly and much more vigorously than species shrub roses. There are various shrub and climbing forms to suit any garden space.

Here are 14 great varieties of English rose to use in your landscaping.

Gardening Tip

As it true of hybrid roses, English roses may need some special treatment to over-winter in colder climates. This can range from simply mounding up soil around the root ball of the plant, to the so-called "Minnesota Tip" method, which involves digging a shallow trench, tying the canes together, and bending the entire plant down into the trench and covering it with soil and a thick layer of leaves or mulch. These methods can sometimes allow gardeners to cheat the zone rating on the shrub—a rose rated hardy to zone 5 may survive a zone 3 or 4 if the shrub can be buried entirely.

  • 01 of 14

    'Fair Bianca' (Rosa 'Fair Bianca')

    Fair Bianca English Rose
    Georgianna Lane/Getty Images

    'Fair Bianca' inhabits that sweet spot between white and cream that gives it a glowing appearance. A reliable rebloomer, 'Fair Bianca' is coveted by brides who want to give their wedding flower arrangements old world flair. 

    Native Area: Nursery hybrid

    USDA Growing Zones: 5–10

    Height: 3–4 feet

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

  • 02 of 14

    'Lady Emma Hamilton' (Rosa 'Lady Emma Hamilton')

    Lady Emma Hamilton English Rose
    Georgianna Lane/Getty Images

    The very compact growth habit of 'Lady Emma Hamilton' makes it ideal for a large patio container. Can you imagine the fruity fragrance scenting the summer air at your next gathering? The upright growth form is also well suited to growing as a "rose tree" standard.

    Native Area: Nursery hybrid

    USDA Growing Zones: 5–9

    Height: 3–4 feet

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

  • 03 of 14

    'Janet' (Rosa 'Janet')

    Janet English Rose
    Reiko Zoe T./Getty Images

    The pink sunrise hues of 'Janet' are similar to the popular 'Peace' hybrid tea rose, but with a greater petal count. 'Janet' does best in regions with low humidity that don't encourage black spot and powdery mildew development. 

    Native Area: Nursery hybrid

    USDA Growing Zones: 5–11

    Height: 3–4 feet

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

  • 04 of 14

    'Gentle Hermione' (Rosa 'Gentle Germione')

    Gentle Hermione Rose
    Georgianna Lane/Getty Images

    With the 'Gentle Hermione' rose, you get more of everything you want in a rose: more fragrance than most (even among English roses), more petals at 90 per blossom, and more disease resistance than many roses, even in rainy areas. This rose is named for the wife of King Leontes in the Shakespeare tragedy The Winter's Tale

    Native Area: Nursery hybrid

    USDA Growing Zones: 5–11

    Height: 3–4 feet

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

    Continue to 5 of 14 below.
  • 05 of 14

    'Happy Child' (Rosa 'Happy Child')

    Happy Child English Rose
    Georgianna Lane/Getty Images

    'Happy Child' produces rich golden blooms that won't fade in strong sunlight. Like all English roses, 'Happy Child' is at its most prolific with rich loamy soil, regular fertilizing, and six to eight hours of sunlight each day. The blooms are especially large, 4 to 5 inches across.

    Native Area: Nursery hybrid

    USDA Growing Zones: 5–11

    Height: 3–4 feet

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

  • 06 of 14

    'Mary English' (Rosa 'Mary English')

    Mary English Rose
    David C. Phillips/Getty Images

    The loose form of 'Mary' English rose allows admirers to gaze at each and every one of the 60 clear pink petals on these June blooming shrubs. Some compare the fragrance of 'Mary' roses to almonds and honey, and if you garden without chemicals, you can garnish your salads and desserts with the edible flower petals of this rose.

    Native Area: Nursery hybrid

    USDA Growing Zones: 4–11

    Height: 3–4 feet

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

  • 07 of 14

    'Sir John Betjeman' (Rosa 'Sir John Betjeman')

    Sir John Betjeman English Rose
    Georgianna Lane/Getty Images

    Named for a beloved English journalist, 'Sir John Betjeman' features bright magenta roses that stand out in the summer landscape. This rose is an alba hybrid, which means that it carries the traits of excellent fragrance and disease resistance that have made it a garden mainstay since antiquity. 

    Native Area: Nursery hybrid

    USDA Growing Zones: 5–10

    Height: 4–5 feet

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

  • 08 of 14

    'Crown Princess Margareta' (Rosa 'Crown Princess Margareta')

    Crown Princess Margareta Rose
    Georgianna Lane/Getty Images

    The peach hue of 'Crown Princess Margareta' is positively juicy, with a fruity fragrance to match. This sumptuous variety is said to be more shade tolerant than others and its arching canes make it suitable to train as a climber. 

    Native Area: Nursery hybrid

    USDA Growing Zones: 4–8

    Height: 5–12 feet

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    Continue to 9 of 14 below.
  • 09 of 14

    'Munstead Wood' (Rosa 'Munstead Wood')

    Munstead Wood English Rose
    David C. Phillips/Getty Images

    If a single plant can set the mood in a garden, it's the 'Munstead Wood' English rose. The rich berry-toned blooms smell as wonderful as they look, and the tidy growth habit is just right for the container garden or the edge of the border. This variety is named after the home of British horticulturist Gertrude Jekyll. 

    Native Area: Nursery hybrid

    USDA Growing Zones: 5–10

    Height: 2–3 feet

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

  • 10 of 14

    'The Mayflower' (Rosa 'Mayflower')

    Mayflower English Rose
    Georgianna Lane/Getty Images

    Not just another pink rose, 'The 'Mayflower' is all but impervious to disease. Good-bye, toxic sprays and chemicals. It is a tough, impervious shrub that makes a good small hedge or foundation plant.

    Native Area: Nursery hybrid

    USDA Growing Zones: 4–11

    Height: 3–4 1/4 feet

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

  • 11 of 14

    'The Pilgrim' (Rosa 'The Pilgrim')

    The Pilgrim English Rose
    David C. Phillips/Getty Images

    'The Pilgrim' is notable for its shade tolerance, offering superior performance in as little as four hours of direct sun. Good disease resistance, 140 petals per flower, and a strong fragrance add to the appeal of this 1991 introduction. 


    Native Area:
    Nursery hybrid

    USDA Growing Zones: 6–9

    Height: 8–12 feet

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

  • 12 of 14

    'Heritage' (Rosa 'Heritage')

    Heritage English Rose
    Ron Evans/Getty Images

    To observe this English rose flourishing in a garden is to add another specimen to the landscape wish list. The fragrance is ambrosial; it's the kind that embeds itself in the deepest limbic regions of the brain that relate to emotion and memory: one whiff decades later will transport you back to the garden where you first met 'Heritage.'  This is a well-rounded shrub that makes a good specimen plant in a mixed border.

    Native Area: Nursery hybrid

    USDA Growing Zones: 5–11

    Height: 4–5 feet

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

    Continue to 13 of 14 below.
  • 13 of 14

    'William Shakespeare' (Rosa 'William Shakespeare')

    William Shakespeare English Rose
    Gerry Whitmont/Getty Images

    Finally, a red rose you can present to your loved one that features a real old-world rose fragrance. Introduced in 2000, you may see a large planting of this rose variety at Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. 'William Shakespeare' is the trade name for this rose; the cultivar name is 'Ausroyal'. It is a cross between Rosa 'Mary Rose' and 'The Squire'.

    Native Area: Nursery hybrid

    USDA Growing Zones: 5–9

    Height: 4–6 feet

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

  • 14 of 14

    'Winchester Cathedral' (Rosa 'Winchester Cathedral')

    Winchester Cathedral English Rose
    Georgianna Lane/Getty Images

    'Winchester Cathedral' produces dozens of white roses with abundance in the early summer, followed by occasional flushes throughout the growing season before an exuberant fall finale. The compact shape looks pleasing as a flowering accent in a formal garden. This rose is a sport of 'Mary Rose'.

    Native Area: Nursery hybrid

    USDA Growing Zones: 5–11

    Height: 3–4 feet

    Sun Exposure: Full sun