I love that the bush is tall (mine is about 2.5 metres) and, virtually, disease free. I also love that the beautiful flowers are produced in abundance on tall, arching canes above the foliage. I love the fact that this makes its blooms, on their long stems, excellent in the vase.
The foliage is large, matt, mid-green and very profuse. The plant’s growth is upright, making it a suitable pillar rose.
So what is there not to love about Lordly Oberon? And why would its breeder, David Austin, recommend you not grow it and delete it from his collection?
I can think of two reasons. Lordly Oberon is another David Austin rose that clearly does better in warm/hot, dry climates. It appears to be a poor grower in the moderate UK climate. I have seen it described as both sickly and spindly.
The other reason is that its beautiful blooms bruise easily and tend to ball. I picked this bloom as a bud and let it open inside to prevent it bruising.
Balling can be caused by a number of things but the one that appears to affect Lordly Oberon is damp conditions. Its blooms ball at the slightest hint of moisture. Cool, wet weather water-logs the petals then the sun bakes and fuses them together. The mushy plant tissue dries to form a stiff straightjacket around the petals, preventing the flower from opening. Heavily petaled roses (40+ petals) and roses with thin petals are most affected.
Eliminating overhead watering and improving air circulation around the plants can reduce balling in susceptible roses. But if there is rain, or even dew, there is nothing that can be done. It must be a serious issue for Lordly Oberon because the South West of Western Australia is pretty dry and still my Lordly Oberon balls badly in spring.
Lordly Oberon was introduced in 1982 by David Austin.