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Abraham Darby, 1985. Breeding: 'Yellow Cushion' X 'Aloha'

Abraham DarbyAbraham Darby is one of the nicest of David Austin's apricot coloured roses. It is the result of a cross of two modern roses, Aloha, a climber, and Yellow Cushion, a floribunda. In the past I would have chosen this rose over Evelyn for perfection of bloom and scent, but I now appreciate them both for their inherent qualities.

Abraham Darby is a strong, generally disease resistant plant that will shoot up to 5 feet or more quite quickly, and so it can be trained as a climber. It seems to be hardy to at least zone 5a, and I suspect it is safe in even colder climates. The blooms it produces are huge, and can appear singly at the end of a shoot, or more often in small clusters of 3 or so. They are somewhat variable in colour, as are many roses, appearing as soft uniform apricot tones, or as David Austin describes, a soft pink with a warm yellow interior, giving an overall peach appearance. I have had it appear both ways, and it seems that in cooler weather it takes on the two colour scheme, whereas in warmer weather it can be a uniform Abraham Darby, detailapricot.

The fragrance is very strong and somewhat fruity mixed with a traditional old rose scent. A very pleasant fragrance. Of all of the apricot English  roses, this has to be one of the very nicest in every way. It is a strong plant that reblooms quickly, and has a better growth habit than some others. Some, like Sweet Juliet are a bit slow to rebloom, and sparsely flowered after the first flowering, but this rose is not.

ARS merit rating: 7.3
Personal merit rating: 7.0
Hardiness: USDA zones 5 to 8, possibly zone 4 in a protected location.
Shrub size: 5 to 8 feet tall X 4 feet wide

Fragrance: 4.0, strong fruity 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