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'Fair Bianca', Austin, 1982. Breeding unknown.

'Fair Bianca' is one of the real unsung heroes of the Austin roses, in my opinion. I bought this rose four years ago when I could not get another rose that I was hunting for. (don't remember what that was now!) I consider it a real charmer in my garden. The common complaint with the Austins is their inability to stay within bounds in a small garden. Many of them get very large and sprawly, like 'Othello' for example, which can send up 12 foot canes! 'Fair Bianca' does not do that. This pretty rose will stay under 3 feet tall, and forms a nicely rounded shrub. I have seen many people grow it in a large pot, and it is quite happy with this treatment.

The blooms are a very nice cream-white with a hint of pink on the outer petals. The scent is one of the most unusual and intense of the Austins for me. It is soapy, yet Damask like, and almost spicy. Austin say Myrrh, not the incense resin, but the herbal tincture. I has been described by some as like Anise or soap as well. It is a very nice fragrance, but I know it is not to everybody's liking.

Update: after struggling to keep this rose alive and healthy, I have abandoned it. In my garden, it seemed to want to dwindle down to one or two weak canes, rarely blooming and always diseased. I'm sure it grows well somewhere, but it was poor in my garden, alas.

ARS merit rating: 7.9
Personal merit rating: NA
Hardiness: USDA zones 5 to 8, possibly zone 4 in a protected location.
Shrub size: 2 to 3 feet tall, by 2 feet wide
Fragrance: 4.0 intense Myrrh/anise scent.

Abraham Darby Gertrude Jekyll St. Swithun
Charlotte* Graham Thomas Sharifa Asma*
Claire Rose* Jayne Austin* Sweet Juliet*
Constance Spry* John Clare Teasing Georgia
Country Living Jude the Obscure* The Prince
Eglantyne* Mayor of Casterbridge Tradescant
Evelyn Othello* William Shakespeare
Fair Bianca Prospero William Shakespeare 2000
Geoff Hamilton St. Cecelia  

Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 1996-2004