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English roses are born from the inspiration of one of the greatest European breeders, David Austin; his intent was to combine the best features of ancient varieties of roses with the winning details of modern roses. From successive crosses between modern roses and old roses, starting in the 1960s, he began to produce very elegant roses with a shrubby habit; the flowers of English roses follow the shapes of old roses, with large corollas in the shape of a rosette, a cup, often divided into quarters, overflowing with petals, with an intense fragrance; like modern roses, on the other hand, the English have the advantage of being very flourishing, with good resistance to disease. From the ancient rose bushes Austin has managed to pass on to his plants also a rich and robust vegetation, quite different from that of many modern plants. Over the years then the varieties of English roses have been enriched with many pastel colors, such as different shades of orange and yellow; English roses of many colors are therefore available, from white to bright pink, from orange to dark red.
English rose shrubs have a vigorous growth, and often reach in a few years the 100-120 cm of height; they are very suitable as single specimens, or in groups of two-three, leaving a space of at least 50 cm between a rosebush and another; if desired they are also suitable for growing in pots, using large containers and often checking the watering. Some varieties may be suitable for cultivation as small climbers.
Like other roses they do not fear the cold, and can withstand winter temperatures even of many degrees below zero; in general they are varieties selected in Great Britain, so they generally do not tolerate very hot summer climates at best without suffering from drought, so it is good to remember to water the plants during the summer season, especially in the case of long periods of drought.
English roses: Pruning and fertilizing
As for the other roses also in the case of the English, it is advisable to practice a fairly low pruning at the end of winter, or even at the beginning of autumn in the central and southern regions, removing the branches that are too weak or damaged, and leaving 3 -4 gems on the strongest branches. During the following months the withered flowers are removed, and the branch that carried them is shortened, up to the first leaf; in the case of plants with excessive development, periodically intervene, shortening each branching by about a third, after flowering. The single specimens can be pruned even less, letting the plants grow according to their inclination, generally obtaining medium-large sized shrubs.
These roses have a good revival; the production of flowers and new vegetation must be accompanied by the right fertilizer: in autumn it provides mature organic fertilizer, or slow release granular mineral fertilizer, so as to provide nourishment to the plant until the following spring; during the vegetative period specific fertilizer is supplied for roses, every 3-4 months, preferably using a slow release fertilizer