David Austin Roses debuts two new rose varieties celebrating the distinguished works of George Eliot, Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe (1861) and James Woodforde’s The Diary of a Country Parson (1758-1802).

The new arrivals offer visually stunning and beautifully fragrant additions to the world-leading breeder’s collection of 20 literature-inspired roses. Joining such classics as The Mill on the Floss, Eustacia Vye, Lady of Shalott, Emily Bronté and The Pilgrim, to name just a few, this year’s varieties continue in the literary theme so close to David Austin Sr’s heart, himself a poet and author.

Named for the unassuming, reclusive yet kind-hearted hero of Eliot’s classic novel, Silas Marner (Ausraveloe) (see image at top) is an unfussy rose of soft mid pink, bearing petals which are pale on the reverse and fade at the edges, creating a gentle quality. Held on red stems, the medium-sized cupped blooms have relaxed, almost ruffled petals set around an attractive button eye. Flanked by glossy, dark green foliage, the rose is enhanced by a sumptuous medium-strong Old Rose fragrance, exuding accents of fruity lemon, green banana and apricot. A very healthy, abundant variety with good repeat flowering, Silas Marner forms a medium-sized shrub of arching growth. Shade tolerant, its fresh pink blooms will sing out in shadier spots, or why not combine with grey toned foliage in a bed or border.

Paying tribute to Woodforde’s acclaimed narrative – an informal yet richly insightful account of the daily life of a late 18th century English clergyman – The Country Parson (Ausclergy) (see image above) is a pretty yet feisty rose of Scottish decent, bearing fully open, medium-large, almost flat rosettes of pure yellow. Appearing gracefully translucent towards the outer edges of each bloom, the petals create a ‘halo’ effect. Featuring greyish green leaves and a covering of modest spiny thorns, this tough little rose is softened by a medium-strong fragrance; a deliciously fruity blend of sweet apricot, green apple and honey, which on a warm day exudes the richness of its apricot notes. A robust and healthy variety, it forms a rounded small to medium sized shrub, giving continuous, plentiful blooms from June through to the first frosts. The Country Parson will work well planted in a pot on patios which may only get a few hours of sun. Alternatively, when planted en masse as a hedge or as a group of three in a border, the glowing blooms will give an illuminating effect.

Head of marketing Richard Austin comments: “We are excited and proud to introduce Silas Marner and The Country Parson to the collection in 2020, both of which will be available from the end of February along with the new 2020 Handbook of Roses. We also very much look forward to showing the new varieties in bloom for the first time at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May. Creating a rose is not dissimilar to writing a literary classic; both take patience, dedication and an innate understanding of the subject. It takes around 10 years to develop a new variety and the rose-breeding process is still lovingly undertaken by hand in our Shropshire greenhouses, just as it was 60 years ago. As with the wonderful literary classics we are inspired by, we hope our roses will stand the test of time and continue to bring joy to people in their homes and gardens for years to come.”

About David Austin Roses Limited
David Austin Roses Limited is a world-leading breeder of fine English Roses. A family business, based in the Shropshire countryside, the company has over 200 varieties of roses to its name. In 1961, David Austin Sr. (1926-2018) introduced his first English Rose, ‘Constance Spry’. Now, nearly 60 years on, his collection of English Roses are celebrated throughout the world, winning a plethora of awards for their exceptional beauty, delicious fragrances and outstanding garden performance. More information available: