David Austin announced the arrival of the Handbook of Roses 2019/2020 and introduced two new personalities to their English Rose collection: 'Eustacia Vye' and 'Gabriel Oak'.
Thomas Hardy fans will recognise the new roses bearing the names of two beloved characters from his renowned novels, The Return of the Native (1878) and Far from the Madding Crowd (1874).
Named after the exotically beautiful but restless heroine of The Return of the Native, 'Eustacia Vye' is a rose of soft, glowing apricot-pink. Each bloom is packed with multiple delicately ruffled petals, held on red-tinged stems. The blooms begin as shallow cups opening to full rosettes, revealing petals of a richer hue which gradually pale over time.
Dignified, hardworking and honest, Far from the Madding Crowd’s central male character is the inspiration behind the name of the new rose, 'Gabriel Oak'. A vigorous rose, bearing large many petalled rosette blooms, this variety is very much in the style of the Old Roses. The outer petals of each bloom are a shade of deep pink which pale slightly over time.
Meticulously curated for expert and novice gardeners alike, the 2019/2020 handbook features David Austin's best rose varieties—including their latest additions—and is divided into easy-to-use sections blending information and practical advice, designed to help gardeners select, plant and care for their rose. Over 100 handpicked products join the range of 'Rose Accessories and Gifts' this year, each item carefully chosen by a team of rose experts to complement or care for the roses.
Richard Austin, Head of Marketing, commented: "Launching the annual Handbook of Roses, and our new rose varieties, is always an exciting time – a highlight in the David Austin calendar. Two stunning new characters join our collection this year, ‘Eustacia Vye’ and ‘Gabriel Oak’, both lovingly created and nurtured over the last nine years under the watchful eye of my Grandfather, David Austin Snr. – testament to the passion and expertise that continue to be at the heart of all that we do."