Mary Rose is a David Austin Rose which he has classified into the group, Old Rose Hybrids. The Old Rose Hybrids are the original English Roses. They are the result of crossing the early summer-flowering Old Roses with modern Hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses with the idea of combining the best characteristics of both. In the case of Mary Rose, this crossing has been a total success as Mary Rose has the charm of an Old Rose, with the reliable repeat-flowering habit of a modern Hybrid Tea or Floribunda.
Mary Rose was one of the first English Roses to become widely popular after the introduction of Constance Spry. It has been used widely by David Austin in his breeding programme.
Whilst David Austin has described Mary Rose as not a particularly glamorous rose, he has also described it as a rose with many remarkable qualities.
The flowers are a strong rose-pink, with a touch of lavender. They are informally cupped and loosely quartered. (It is a pity I don’t have a photo of a mature bloom to show you but it is a bit late in the season to get a perfect flower in full bloom. The wind and the rain have, usually, damaged them before they are fully open. I will add one next year.) The flowers are borne at the end of long, arching canes.
The flowers tend to drop quickly after maturing, which I like as it keeps the bush free of dead heads but it also means that Mary Rose is not a particularly good rose for picking. Mary Rose blooms continuously throughout the season so there is always a flower to appreciate.
The flowers have only a light fragrance which is unusual for a David Austin rose.
David Austin has described Mary Rose’s growth as near to ideal – bushy, twiggy and vigorous without being unruly – and it has a remarkable resistance to disease.
Foliage is mid-green and abundant . The shrub has a cascading habit.
Mary Rose has produced two sports – the almost white Winchester Cathedral and the softer pink Redoute. Both sports have the same growth habit as Mary Rose so would make a perfect rose-pink, white and soft pink hedge. I have been dreaming of planting such a hedge for years. Maybe, one day….
Mary Rose is one of the most popular David Austin roses. It was introduced in 1983, the year that Henry VIII’s ship, Mary Rose, was raised from the sea.