Fully double red garden roses have been relatively rare offerings from David Austin. When the flowers are in full flush and at their height in the garden, Darcey Bussell’s roses are beautiful by any standard in the rose gardening universe.
Flowers have up to eighty petals and are medium-large, four inches or so across. Form at height of bloom is exceptional, although the individual flowers loosen considerably as they age.
Darcy Bussell’s flowers are produced in clusters and singles in flushes throughout the season. In climates with hot summers, roses most often put on their best displays in the first flush of spring and the fall. This is true of David Austin roses as they have been bred for the cool English climate.
Darcey Bussell is a relatively small shrub in the garden, often specified as growing to only three feet or so. In the right circumstances it can grow a little larger. Descriptions regarding habit range from upright to short/mounded. This discrepancy is fairly typical as David Austin roses in particular exhibit a wide range of growth habits (form and size) depending on the climate where they are grown.
Scientific name: Rosa x ‘Darcey Bussell’ (Ausdecorum)
Common name(s): Darcey Bussell
Rose Class: David Austin shrub rose
Year Introduced: 2005 (U.K.), 2008 (U.S.)
Size: 2′ to 4′ feet tall
Disease resistance: Not great in no-spray gardens prone to mildew. Mild blackspot found on trial plants. One of those ‘try it and take your chances’ roses.
Fragrance: Moderate to minimal.
Bloom period: Remontant, flowers come in flushes throughout growing season.
Winter hardiness: 6b/9b
Of note: Fully double crimson-red to purple-red in classic old rose form. Named for the famed ballerina.
Notes about rose colors, photography, and sunlight
The color of Darcey Bussell has been described as a bluish-red and purple-red. Especially when photographing in harsh sunlight, red roses may look pink and pink roses may get blown-out. I have found red roses to be difficult to photograph and the best advice I can give is to attempt to photograph red roses in shade whenever possible.