David Austin rose Abraham Darby is one of Austin’s most beautiful roses. Abraham Darby produces blooms of classic old rose form colored a soft pink with apricot tones. Abraham Darby can be susceptible to blackspot and rust. Commit to spraying or else develop a casual indifference to dropped leaves as the humidity and warm nights of summer roll in.
David Austin develops roses of undeniable beauty, and Abraham Darby is one of his finest.
Abraham Darby was hybridized from Aloha and Yellow Cushion. Examining the parents’ defining characteristics gives hints as to Abraham Darby’s character.
Yellow Cushion is a pure Floribunda rose described as having excellent disease resistance. I have never seen a yellow rose with excellent disease resistance. Yellow Cushion was hybridized in 1966 by David L. Armstrong. As a rule, yellow roses from that era are not up to modern (or old rose) standards of resistance to blackspot.
Floribunda roses are remontant. Yellow Cushion provides flushes of roses throughout the season as opposed to a continuous show. Abraham Darby is similar in this regard.
The other parent, Aloha, is a strong climber with large pink blooms (40+ petals). Abraham Darby clearly echoes Aloha in growth habit and size/color of the roses produced. Abraham Darby produces roses that are formally described as Apricot Blend (AB).
Abraham Darby rose, bred in 1985 by David Austin, is still commercially available…
Abraham Darby has a tall, arching habit that can get sprawly and wayward. Many David Austin rose vary quite a bit in size, often growing much larger in America than originally specified by Mr. Austin in his native England. Abraham Darby is such an example, growing from 4′-10′, quite a variance in size.
Hardy zones 5b and warmer, Abraham Darby can be trained as a climber. Abraham Darby is considered somewhat shade-tolerant but these things are relative. Do not plant a rose in the shade and expect it to do well…but Abraham Darby has been reported to produce bundles of roses with as little as four hours of sun per day.
Where many roses go semi-dormant in summer, Abraham Darby reportedly continues to produce waves of roses even in the warmer months. Fragrance is considered good to excellent and has been described by some gardeners as similar to grapefruit or orange: Abraham Darby’s roses tend to have a suggestion of citrus about them.
A final note about David Austin roses in general and Abraham Darby in particular: I spend enough time on rose forums and speaking with other rose gardeners to have finally come to understand that experiences vary widely. Talk to one gardener and Abraham Darby is a dog; talk to another and Abraham Darby is one of the best ever. Who is correct? It all comes down to a combination of climate, micro-climates, and quality of cultivation. The best advice with roses is to give one you like a real chance by planting it correctly and make your own decision.