Being on a garden tour is great for many reasons. One of the benefits I seldom mention is that I often hear interesting gardening industry news from some of the more experienced visitors. 

This time, however, the news was not good. A longtime gardener came up to me and said “I always visit your garden, but this time, I  have a favor to ask you.” 

She wanted a small cutting from my Abraham Darby rose (shown above), because hers had died for whatever reason and she’d heard David Austin had cut the rose, along with many others, from its offerings. Of course, I obliged. 

I had some ambivalence about taking a cutting from a shrub that is doing okay, but not exactly bursting with vitality. (I’ve never had perfect conditions for roses.)  But I also felt a rant coming on. Why? Why would a company stop producing and selling a variety like Abraham Darby? It has huge, complex blooms and – I am not alone on this – one of the best scents by far of any rose I’ve ever sniffed.

Apparently, David Austin cut its offerings by at least 30 percent back in 2020. I had never heard this, but it wasn’t exactly big news in the papers and magazines I read. And I am not part of the horticultural industry here. (Maybe some of my fellow Ranters heard about it.)

The other varieties on the chopping block included Evelyn, Sharifa Asma, Lady Emma Hamilton, and others – I could not access the whole list. For some reason they are keeping Darcy Bussell, which I have, and the blooms of which blow out within a day. 

As we know, this happens all the time. My Rudbeckia lacianata ‘Golden Glow’ (above), never available at any nursery I visit, hasn’t been offered online for some time. Fortunately, it spreads vigorously, so I just make sure to edit with a light touch. I also doubt I’d ever find my ‘Alpenglow’ macrophylla hydrangea (below) if I ever needed to replace it. 

I get why companies do this. There’s always the newer, shinier things to offer instead. We gardeners do get attached to our favorites though. Especially when it comes to roses. And what were the reasons? 

Anyway,  I’m glad I heard this. Abraham Darby will be getting some tender loving care next season!