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Sharifa Asma, Austin 1983. Breeding: Mary Rose X Admired Miranda

Sharifa AsmaI ended up aquiring this rose when a local nursery sent it to me as a substitute for something else I had ordered from them. I was disappointed at the time. The plant I got was very small and not at all what I originally wanted. What good fortune for me that this had happened! In three seasons this lovely rose grew to be a shapely shrub of about 5 feet tall which had much more character than many of the other Austins I had at the time.

It is in bloom from early May until well after the first frosts, often there are still blooms on the plant at Christmas! I think of Sharifa Asma as being one of the very finest roses I have grown. It has a great deal of subtle charm that works well in any garden scheme. Try underplanting it with mixed colors of Cranesbill (Geranium), like I did. While some of the English Roses have not weathered the test of time with grace, this rose is an exception. Sharifa Asma is one of the best of the Austins from the mid-80's, and will continue to be well worth space in my garden.

Some of the recent introductions from David Austin are often referred to as being improved versions of earlier varieties. St Swithun is a 1990's rose that is sometimes called an improved Sharifa Asma, although I find them both to have intrinsic charms that the other does not possess. Highly recommended.

ARS merit rating: 7.5
Personal merit rating: 8.5
Hardiness: USDA zones 5 to 8, possibly zone 4 in a protected location.
Shrub size: 3 to 5 feet tall, by 3 feet wide.
Fragrance: 4.0, Myrrh scent mixed with Old Rose. In spite of the fact that few people associate this rose' fragrance with the stronger Myrrh tones of some of the other Austins, I definitely detect this scent. As the saying goes: "roses for noses and noses for roses." ;-)

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