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Graham Thomas, Austin 1983. A cross of Charles Austin X Iceberg seedling

Graham Thomas is one of the finest yellow roses of the English roses to date. There have been many introductions since this, but few are better than Graham. I have not been a fan of the yellow Austin roses up until now. I generally grow a "cool colours" garden, and yellow doesn't work well in that kind of scheme. (even though I always make room for sunflowers somewhere...) I got a copy of Graham Thomas for my garden this year, at my partner's request, and I have to say that I have developed an appreciation for this rose. It has a soft, warn amber yellow upon opening that fades to pale yellow as the bloom ages. I used to think a fading colour like this was a bad thing, but I now appreciate it for the fact that it offers a dozen different values of the same hue on the shrub all at once! I find that is an added attraction! The fragrance is a warm tea scent that is unusual and attractive, although not to everyone's taste. You have to try it to see if you like it or not. I find that Graham has average disease resistance here in this US zone 8 garden, where we get a wet spring that tends to encourage disease. ( Many of the other Austins are very prone to disease here, even the ones that are supposedly resistant, such as Abraham Darby, which can get blackspot pretty badly, and Heritage, which will get everything, mostly rust! I will NOT grow Heritage ever again for this flaw....every plant I have had of it has had rust really badly.)

ARS merit rating: 8.4
Personal merit rating: 8.0
Hardiness: USDA zones 5 to 8, possibly zone 4 in a protected location.
Shrub size: 2.5 to 10 feet, depending on climate!
Fragrance: 4.0 Strong Tea fragrance

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