THE DARK LADY – David Austin Modern Shrub with dark ruby red, very full blooms which open like a peony and turn purple with age


Bred by David Austin, UK, and one of the earliest crosses in 1991 of ‘Mary Rose’ x ‘Prospero’ it has qualities from both parents. The plant is upright, bushy and free flowering with medium sized, dark green foliage and lots of prickles.

The Dark Lady has a unique perfume which is very evident when the weather is warm and humid – many people say it has no fragrance at all so this rose must be enjoyed during warmer weather when it reveals a lovely fragrance.

In our garden, The Dark Lady grows as a standard rose specimen so that when the cluster flower heads get very heavy and droop, the flowers can still be enjoyed. As a specimen rose in a garden border, I would strongly recommend that three plants of this variety be planted with 75cms spacing of each other so that the plants support each other when the flower heads get too heavy.

  • Unique qualities of an early David Austin
  • Very healthy and bushy plant
  • Durable flower changing colour with age
  • Ideal to plant in group of three


The generally sunny, dry and hot conditions of the Australian garden are particularly well suited to planting roses and roses flourish in our gardens when you take measures to provide the following:

WATER – Roses are very deep rooted plants and require one good, deep soaking at least every 10 days in hot and dry conditions.

FEED – Because roses flower throughout all but the Winter season, they should be regularly fertilized with quality (preferably organic) fertilizer which contains a balance of major nutrients (NPK) and trace elements. The fertilizer should be applied at least once a month – small amount often – with fortnightly applications of liquid seaweed over the foliage.

PRUNE – During Winter, 70% of the rose plant should be pruned and all old wood removed back to the crown and the bush pruned to shape.
During the flowering seasons, 25% of all flowering stems should be cut back after flowering to encourage strong re-growth.

MULCH – Particular attention to application of lucerne or pea straw directly around the root-zone of each rose will enhance the overall health of the rose and then the whole bed should be mulched to 75mm with any other mulch medium available.

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