Rose Gardens, Plant Centre & Tea Room

Our Plant Centre is a little different from most others. We attract visitors from all around the world, many of whom travel thousands of miles to visit the home of the English Roses. We aim to make sure that all gardeners and rose lovers will enjoy their visit, from complete beginners to the most experienced. Expert staff are always on hand to help and advise visitors in any way they require.


Rose garden, plant centre & gift shop
Monday – Sunday 9am – 5pm (Free entry)

Tea Room
Monday – Sunday: 9.30am – 4.30pm
(Lunches 12pm – 2.15pm)


Telephone: 0044 1902 376334

Groups and coach parties are welcome by prior appointment. Please book well in advance. For more information including charges, please call 0044 1902 376334.


David Austin Roses
Bowling Green Lane


About your visit

  • Rose Gardens

    Home to the largest and most beautiful collection of David Austin Roses in the world. Come and see… Read more

  • Shop

    After an inspiring visit in the garden choose your favourite rose from our amazing collection of potted David Austin Roses… Read more

  • Food & Drink

    We offer a selection of freshly prepared sandwiches, gardener’s platters and delicious, freshly made meals… Read more

A great day out – David Austin Roses

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I’ve been to heaven. Don’t be disappointed, but it’s a garden centre in Shropshire

For a moment last week I thought I’d died and gone to heaven and if you want the postcode for heaven it’s WV7 3HB, which, as some of you will know, is in Shropshire.

Now I have always been a fan of this county, for starters, I like Shrewsbury because any city that still has a Singer sewing repair shop is my kind of town, plus I once had a local sausage that was so good I thought about selling my London pad and relocating.

But what I didn’t know about Shropshire is that it has its own corner of paradise in the shape of the David Austin Rose Gardens and Plant Centre.

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Some of you will be nodding your heads by now, others will be muttering, “Shut up woman this is our secret; it’s already hard enough to park.”

For those like me, who are gardening ignoramuses, the name David Austin smacks of a gentlemen’s outfitters, but as I’m currently touring with two green fingered women, both of whom I swear have ruined their knees due to gardening, I have slowly been indoctrinated into the joys of potting on.

Since we set off back in March the only porn allowed in the back of the tour car is that of the flowering variety. Seriously, I have never seen women derive so much pleasure from a seed catalogue.

By the way, other things (apart from food) that middle-aged women get off on include seaside estate agents’ windows, nifty storage solutions and really good tupperware.

But I digress, spring/summer tours are all about the flora and this past month, the UK has burst her motorway verges with miles of creamy elderflower blossom and cow parsley, oxeye daisies bob alongside shiny buttercups and the fields are splattered with lipstick coloured poppies.

Of course there is much more besides but frustratingly I don’t know their names and I’m reduced to pointing at trees saying, “Oh look Japanese lime”, which is something I have made up.

Falling in love with nature has been a slow process. I used to be so self-obsessed that I spent more time staring into a mirror rather than out of a car or train window. But not anymore. Possibly because the sight in the mirror is not all that great, I’ve started looking out and all of a sudden I have realised that I really love flowers.

Flowers are ace. My favourites include peonies of all persuasion and dahlias be they shaggy or pompom, big headed pink hydrangeas and fat faced sunflowers, hollyhocks, foxgloves and lupins, wisteria and lily of the valley.

Flowers move me. The other day I had to sit on a bench and catch my breath at the sight of the gardens in Salisbury’s Cathedral Close and I even clapped a floral windmill when staying with my mother in Lytham a few weeks back.

But nothing prepared me for the David Austin Rose Gardens and Plant Centre.

I thought it would be like any plant centre: a few rows of flowers for sale, a tea room and shop, maybe a couple of green houses and possibly a bouncy castle for the kids.

How wrong can you be? I first caught a glimpse of the place through a gap in a hedge. It was like seeing the sea for the first time when you drive all the way to Cornwall and suddenly it’s there, but instead of water it was a stretch of multicoloured roses reaching into the distance. I gasped, before the car swung into the plant centre itself where suddenly the scent hit me and I could hear the buzzing of pollen stuffed bees.

There isn’t a perfume counter in the world that can match this place. Visitors wander around with expressions of dazed delight, conversations spark up between strangers, everyone is grinning, oohing and aahing. It’s like a floral bonfire night.

Suddenly my heart felt full and I got a bit weepy sniffing a Jacqueline du Pré.

Roses ramble, they twine around arbours, climb walls, and sit in beds. There are Alice in Wonderland bushes in red and white, old-fashioned orange ones straight out of a Constance Spry arrangement and new-fangled frilly ones. Roses bloom in every shape and colour, named like sailing boats, each with their own character and scent: Fantin Latour, Empress Josephine, Maid Marian.

I had to have one. There was room in the tour car for a small bush, but in the sales yard I dithered. I don’t really have any flower beds in London, ours is more of patio garden. I needed a rose that could live in a pot.

Eventually I chose a Vanessa Bell, with 10 per cent of its sales price going to The Charleston Trust. The plant has the palest creamy yellow flowers and a lemon honey scent.

Positioning it carefully into the footwell of the tour vehicle, I was suddenly struck by the realisation that the last time I was as concerned about getting something home safe and sound, I had my newborn daughter in the car.

His fortunes changed significantly in 1983 when he introduced three English Rose varieties, including a yellow climbing rose with a fresh tea fragrance (which he named for the horticulturist Graham Thomas, a friend). They were lauded by the press, and the attention transformed his business. His English Roses had finally arrived.

“He lived and breathed them all the time,” said Mr. Marriott, who began working with Mr. Austin in 1985. “He had little time for other things and was not a particularly social man. He was quite shy and very happy to dedicate his life to roses.

“He’d carry around a little book, forever making notes in his barely decipherable handwriting. He had a very inquiring mind but it was mostly about roses.”

Mr. Austin wrote several books, including “The Heritage of the Rose” (1988), “The English Roses” (1993) and “The Breathing Earth” (2014), a volume of poetry about the natural world.

He is survived by his sons, David, managing director of his father’s company, and James; a daughter, Claire Austin; a sister, Barbara Stockitt; and eight grandchildren. His wife, Patricia (Braithwaite) Austin, a sculptor, died in 2007.

Mr. Austin’s optimism suffused his painstaking effort to bring new roses to life, a process that requires nine years from pollination to market.

“There are so many leads — many of them blind alleys,” he told Gardens Illustrated. “You need great patience and the skill to recognize what is really outstanding. Every time I make a cross, I think there is always something more beautiful to come.”

He continued to breed roses as a hobby while farming, introducing his first commercially available rose, Rosa “Constance Spry” in 1963, followed by “Chianti” and “Shropshire Lass” in 1967 and 1968 respectively. But these first roses bloomed only once, and it was only in 1969, when his repeat-flowering Chaucer varieties caused a sensation at Chelsea, that he founded his company.

His business really took off in the 1980s after his “Graham Thomas” and “Mary Rose” repeat-flowering, disease-resistant varieties were introduced at Chelsea in 1983 and captured the public imagination both in Britain and the rest of the world.

In the 1990s, by which time Austin had been joined in the business by his son, also David, David Austin Roses turned to bringing the qualities of their garden flowers to a range of cut roses, launching the first four cultivars in 2004, then building up a thriving business through outlets such as Harrods and Fortnum & Mason and winning a growing clientele of celebrities. By 2012 Austin was employing 20 people full-time in the breeding department and about 140 in other parts of the business.

Austin continued to be actively involved in the breeding business into his late eighties, spending a good two hours each day monitoring his progeny in his company’s one acre of glass breeding houses.

Well-informed generally, he was notably encouraging to younger gardeners and plant breeders, often giving them free tickets to Chelsea.

The author of three books on roses, and a volume of poems, in 2003 Austin was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour by the Royal Horticultural Society and the Dean Hole Medal from the Royal National Rose Society. He received a lifetime achievement award from the Garden Centre Association in 2004 and was appointed OBE in 2007.

In 1956 he married Patricia Braithwaite. She died in 2007 and he is survived by their two sons and one daughter.

David Austin, born February 16 1926, died December 18 2018

ROSES king David Austin — who created 200 varieties — left £18.4million in his will.

His cultivars won 24 gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show and sold in 50 countries.

1 Roses king David Austin — who created 200 varieties — left £18.4million in his willCredit: Rex Features

David died aged 92 last December – after becoming world famous for his roses, with Apple boss Steve Jobs ordering hundreds to decorate a 100-metre walkway at his firm’s California studios.

And he created designs for special occasions – including the “William and Catherine” rose to mark the royal couple’s wedding in April 2011.

Austin left his estate to daughter Claire, who owns her own plant nursery, son David, who works in the family business, and Jim, a neural computing professor.

The rose breeder, who was awarded an OBE for his work, grew up in Albrighton, Shrops, on his family farm.

By the age of five he had his own gardening patch, given to him by his grandmother, and soon became fascinated by plants.

Austin, who was severely dyslexic, said he spent nights as a child worrying about frosts.

He became hooked on roses when his sister gave him a book about them. By the 1960s he had launched his own business, breeding his own roses.

Within 40 years his firm, based in Wolverhampton, was generating £13 million a year in revenue through direct sales and at garden centres.

Despite America’s strict quarantine laws he still boasted next-day delivery to every US state except Alaska and Hawaii.

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Asked in recent years if he planned to retire, he refused the idea, adding: “That’s what drives me on — my love of roses, and knowing there are still better ones to come.”

When asked about his favourite rose, he replied: “If I had to choose just one, I think pink Olivia Rose Austin, named after my granddaughter, has to be one of the best I’ve ever bred.”

In 1956 Austin married Patricia Braithwaite, a sculptor and painter who helped him to set up the business in 1969. She died in 2007.

Travis Scott completely covers Kylie Jenner’s house in roses a few days before her birthday

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The entrance to the gift shop and the rose gardens

This, this happened! My friend and I took a drive out into the English countryside to visit the amazing David Austin Roses! Can you just imagine?! David Austin is located just outside the town of Wolverhampton, which is about 2.5 hours north of London. Emma was up for a drive and so off we were for a weekend in the country!
Arriving at David Austin Roses was quite exciting, as we drove into the property roses could be seen in every direction. We started with a tour throughout every bit of the gardens. So perfectly and amazingly laid out. Not all the roses were in bloom, I’d say in about 3 weeks they’ll be in full bloom. That was ok, we were still able to see plenty of beauties in bloom and appreciate the gorgeous garden design. We stopped for a bit in the tea room, enjoying some cappuccinos and scones with clotted cream! A true English treat! Afterwards we perused the nursery and selected a phenomenal Graham Thomas Yellow Garden Rose for Emma’s garden. It was truly a special & perfect day!

The entrance to the Tea Room

The beautiful William Morris Climbing rose.

William Morris
English Climbing Rose

Darcey Bussell
English Rose New for 2006

Lovely display at the entrance to the Tea Room, yes we enjoyed tea & scones.

St Swithun
English Old Rose Hybrid

Graham Thomas English Garden Rose

These were behind the privacy gates, they offer a little peek window to see the greenhouses.

Olivia Rose Austin
English Leander Hybrid New for 2014

Port Sunlight
English Musk Hybrid

And now a visual tour of the plant nursery, so many beautiful plants to select from for your garden!

For all your plant collectors .. the nursery at David Austin is beyond amazing! I wanted everything..

Another shot of the nursery

The nursery section.. oh the options!

Peeking over the fence at the rose production area.

The Gardens at David Austin

A veritable riot of colour, in beds and borders, along paths and clothing walls and clambering up and over pillars. Every conceivable space is festooned. Walls have climbers and ramblers flowering from bottom to top; pillars have roses wrapped around them like Maypoles and overhead the show continues. The Lion Garden has a mix of perennials and other climbers to set off the show but otherwise it is roses all of the way.

Inventive and imaginative are the ways in which the roses are used and displayed and even though these are gardens spanning over two acres, there is much that you can bring home and apply to the most modest of town plots. Roses in containers and smothering walls and fences, plants pruned to keep them neat in habit (and they are trialling potentially smaller shrub roses at the moment too, with an eye on smaller gardens, balconies and patios).

Even though we are so familiar with the gardens and have visited in winter, spring, summer and autumn before, we always go away better equipped to look after these beauties, to grow different varieties with confidence and to use them in new and different ways – and to different effect.

David C H Austin began breeding roses as an amateur in the late 1940s. His vision was to combine the beauty and fragrance of the old roses with the repeat-flowering and wider colour range of the modern roses. He called his new roses the English Roses.

The main characteristics of the English Roses are:

• Beauty of the flower – Often many-petalled, cupped and rosette flower forms.

• Wonderful fragrances – Renowned for their strong and diverse fragrance.

• Repeat-flowering – The ability to repeat-flower over a long season.

• Health – Superb health and garden performance with outstanding disease resistance.

• Versatility – They can be used to excellent effect in a wide variety of ways including in mixed flower beds, large pots, hedging and landscaping. Many varieties can also be grown as beautiful climbers.

Today David Austin Roses is an international company, taking a long-term approach to breeding and marketing the English Roses, which are grown in every rose growing country in the world, including us in South Africa here at TARR ROSES Nursery.

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