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Geoff Hamilton, Austin 1997. Breeding: Heritage X "seedling"

Geoff HamiltonThis is one of the most recent of the Austin roses to enter the North American market. I got my plant from Heirloom Roses in St. Paul, OR.

Usually every year I add one of David Austins newer roses to my garden, and this year the only one I have added is 'Geoff Hamilton' Like many people, I am starting to feel there is some redundancy in the English roses, with only small improvements or style changes with each new variety. I wish Mr. Austin would make some "lateral moves" in his breeding work. This is not to say that I don't have a deep appreciation for some of his roses! I think that some of the pinks are exquisite; roses like 'Sharifa Asma' and 'St. Swithun', and 'Mayor of Casterbridge' are all wonderful roses. I guess that is why this newest one, 'Geoff Hamilton' is the one I have added this season; because the pinks seem to be some of the finest of the lot. (There is absolutelly nothing plain about a good pink rose, for after all, pink is the true color of the rose!)

I have admired 'Geoff Hamilton' in the gardens of Heirloom Roses in St. Paul for a couple of years now, before it was listed as a named variety. It is a full, shrubby plant of 4 to 5 feet tall, producing large cupped blooms in clusters. Individual blooms are about 4 inches across, and are the softest warm pink which does not fade too quickly. I think these cupped, full blooms come the closest to my personal idea of the perfect English rose. There is a very pleasant scent when blooms are fresh, but the fragrance seems to dissipate too soon. I look forward to watching this one mature, and I will report on its progress. I should mention that Mr. Geoff Hamilton was a television gardeneing personality who passed away in 96. His legacy is the Barnsdale Gardens which he created in England.

While I have observed the mature plants at Heirloom for several years now, I have only one season's experience with it in my own garden. Therefore, I will hold any comments about its habits till later.

ARS merit rating: None assigned.
Personal merit rating: undecided
Hardiness: USDA zones 6 to 10, possibly zone 5 in a protected location.
Shrub size: 4 to 5 feet tall, and 4 feet wide.
Fragrance: 3.0, moderate Old Rose 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