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Claire Rose, 1986. Breeding: 'Charles Austin' X (seedling X 'Iceberg')

Claire RoseI was impressed by the beauty of this rose when I first saw it bloom in my garden. It is very much like 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' in bloom quality. It is a wonderful soft blush pink full of many petals that are often perfectly quartered in form. It is supposedly fragrant, but my nose has detected almost no scent from it. (I did get a bit of a whiff from it early one morning, but most of the time there is nothing) I hear from many people that they too can detect no fragrance.

This shrub is quite vigorous, and I used to find it a bit sticklike in habit. However, in my current garden it has made a very full, shapely (but upright) shrub. It's upright habit is best remedied by placing other perennials in front of it to cover the base canes. Perhaps harder Spring pruning would encourage more growth from low on the plant?

Sadly, it is very prone to spotting in wet weather, just like 'Souvenir de la Malmaison'. I forgive it this fault because when it does produce good blooms, they are perfection! This is also the only Austin rose that I find makes an excellent cut flower. Blooms last for well over a week when cut at perfection.

In the end, I'd have to say that 'Claire Rose' rates as one of the best Austins in my garden. If it weren't for the lack of scent, I'd say it was one of my top 3. Of the Austins I still grow, I'd choose 'Sharifa Asma', 'Jayne Austin', 'Prospero', and 'St. Swithun' as the very best for me, with 'Claire Rose' close behind.

ARS merit rating: 7.4
Personal merit rating: 8.2 (I'd give it a higher score if it had a decent fragrance)
Hardiness: USDA zones 5 to 8, possibly zone 4 in a protected location.
Shrub size: 3 to 6 feet tall X 3 feet wide

Fragrance: 1.0, faint scent, although some people say it is quite fragrant!

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